By Jack Rosebro
A recent increase in Swedish passenger train traffic has been driven by climate and other environmental concerns, according to a new study released by SJ (Statens Järnvägar), Sweden’s state train company.
When asked to give the most important reasons for choosing the train for their journey, users gave two primary reasons. “The environment” tied for top position at 36% with “relaxation” [as compared to other modes of transport]. In the previous year, just 24% gave the environment as their main reason for using the train.
“We’re clearly seeing how travellers’ environmental awareness is increasing, at the cost of both the car and plane,” said Sven Andersson, head of SJ’s customer and market analysis department.
SJ reports that last year there were 37.4 million long distance passenger journeys by train, accounting for 16% of all private journeys. Air travel accounts for 14%, and the car still dominates with around 66% of private travel. Six percent of trips were by bus.
Almost all trains in Sweden, including the high-speed X2000, are electrically powered, and SJ sources that power exclusively from Sweden’s abundant base of hydropower. The company states that emission of carbon dioxide during a trip between Stockholm and Gothenburg (approximately 470 km or 290 miles) is the equivalent of 3 milliliters, or around 40 drops, of gasoline.
SJ’s website includes an interactive calculator in both Swedish and English that allows the traveler to calculate the emissions of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbon, oxides of nitrogen, and particulate output in relation to their trip, and to customize that calculation according to the percentage of seats filled, as well as comparing the trip to other modes of transport. When comparing to travel by private automobile, the calculator allows the user to select the age and fuel type of the vehicle, as well as the amount of passengers onboard.
SJ Environmental trip calculator, English version