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Archive for September 2012

Pedestrian orientation in central Birmingham, part two

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Centro Birmingham bus information 'tombstone', September 2012

Improving wayfinding and traveller information in central Birmingham is one of the objectives of the city council and Centro ‘Vision for Movement’ project. The Urban Buildings blogpost noted that the Interconnect Birmingham component of the Vision for Movement first phase will focus on ‘improving orientation with improved street mapping to help people locate their destination and create better mental maps of the city’.

Interconnect Birmingham, a £3 Million project, it is mentioned in the Big City Plan, and also is seen in the Vision for Movement for making Birmingham a walkable city. The contract for the first phase of the work was put out to tender, which City ID won. They are experts within the field, and show that Birmingham is really looking to achieve a high quality output.

Centro bus information 'tombstone', Carrs Lane, Birmingham

The travel orientation panels look more like tombstones than totems, and I don’t think they are very good. I’d imagine that a large proportion of public transport users, and city visitors, would not be able to wayfind using them.

It would be interesting to see if any human factors research has been done on the usability of the new tombstones and bus totems, and what the design brief said. The shortcomings may not all be down to CityID.

Written by beleben

September 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm

HS2 and low carbon transport, part four

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The Campaign for Better Transport and CPRE heart Greengauge 21

According to the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University

The implementation cost of a 55 mph [~90 km/h] motorway speed limit in Europe, including signage and enforcement, has been calculated to be around $11 (i.e. USD11) per barrel of oil saved, or around £40 per tonne of carbon saved.

In 2006, the ECI claimed an enforced 70 mph [112 km/h] speed limit on Britain’s roads could cut carbon emissions by 1 million tonnes per year by 2010. If the limit were set at 60 mph [96 km/h], the annual reduction would be around 1.94 million tonnes. But neither the Labour nor the following coalition government were interested. (In fact, Philip Hammond, coalition transport secretary for a while, seemed quite keen to raise the motorway limit to 80 mph.)

The cost per tonne of cutting carbon emissions also featured in the April 19, 2012 Washington Post Wonkblog.

The California High Speed Rail Authority claims that by 2030, if the [proposed California high speed] train ran entirely on renewable energy, then it would start reducing the state’s carbon emissions by about 5.4 million metric tons per year. That would mean the rail network would cut California’s emissions at a cost of, at the very low end, $250 per ton of carbon dioxide over the ensuing 50 years, given the system’s current price tag. (This is being extremely generous, since it ignores the energy used to build the system — by some estimates, high-speed rail would actually increase emissions in its first few decades.)

And that’s a pricey way to cut carbon. To put this in perspective, research has suggested that you could plant 100 million acres of trees and help reforest the United States for a cost of somewhere between $21 to $91 per ton of carbon dioxide. Alternatively, a study by Dan Kammen of UC Berkeley found that it would cost somewhere between $59 and $87 per ton of carbon dioxide to phase out coal power in the Western United States and replace it with solar, wind and geothermal. If reducing greenhouse gases is your primary goal, then there are a slew of more cost-effective ways to do it than building a bullet train.

Assuming the London — West Midlands phase (‘LWM’) of HS2 cost £17 billion, and Greengauge 21’s baseline claim of “600,000 tonnes of carbon saved over 60 years” were accurate

  1. a 60 mph road speed limit would produce three times as much carbon reduction in one year, than HS2 LWM would in sixty years
  2. the per-tonne cost of carbon saved from building HS2 would be £28,300.

Automotive carbon emissions, varying by speed and size of car

Written by beleben

September 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

HS2 and low carbon transport, part three

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Part one | Part two

Greengauge 21 diagram claiming carbon reducing effects of HS2, 2026-2086

In ‘The carbon impacts of HS2‘, Jim Steer’s Greengauge 21 “developed a base scenario, consistent with Government policies and forecasts”, in which the operation of phase 1 of HS2 was estimated to reduce emissions by 1.8 million tonnes CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) over 60 years. This would ‘comfortably offset’ the approximately 1.2 MtCO2e from building the line. The report claimed that there is

[…]huge scope to influence the carbon outcome of HS2, and specifically, to ensure that it brings about a useful reduction in emissions.

Under an environmentally-responsible scenario, the operational carbon savings could increase to 3.5 MtCO2e, increasing the net saving (taking into account embedded carbon) to 2.3 MtCO2e. But in contrast, under a laissez-faire scenario, without appropriate sustainability policies, it is possible that there will be no operational carbon savings available to offset the embedded carbon.
While the first phase of HS2 between London and the West Midlands is estimated to deliver a 1.8 MtCO2e reduction in carbon emissions, this would be increased four-fold to a saving of more than seven million tonnes CO2e when the second phase of HS2 opens. The route extensions to Leeds, Manchester and Heathrow substantially increase the scope for mode shift from air and car travel.

Further, we conclude that, in the design for HS2 and for a wider HSR network, the following would maximise HS2’s sustainability:

a) Reducing the top speed of HS2 where justified, balancing energy consumption and mode shift. Reducing the top speed of HS2 from 360km/h to 300km/h could reduce energy consumption by 19%. In the early years of HS2 operation, before the electricity supply is substantially decarbonised (say, before the 2030s), the carbon impacts of HS2 would be improved by adopting this lower top operating speed. Then, as electrical power generation is more fully decarbonised and the HSR network is extended, the journey time improvements on HS2 become even more important in delivering mode shift, and so a top speed of 360 km/h is more likely to be needed and justified by the carbon savings from reduced air and private car travel;

b) Construction of city centre stations rather than parkway stations where feasible. City centre stations are estimated to be around 7% more efficient in carbon terms than parkway stations, even when only considering the direct impacts of HSR travel. The effect of local access trips to HSR stations, which can be made more readily by sustainable travel modes to city centre stations, will only increase this benefit. All HS2 stations need to be designed around high modal shares for sustainable access travel modes and supported by planning policies that deliver sustainable patterns of land use;

c) Full use of capacity freed up on the existing rail network. HS2 Ltd has adopted conservative assumptions on how much West Coast Main Line (WCML) capacity freed by HS2 is re-used for new and improved rail services. We estimate that the HS2 carbon savings could be increased by 8% by fully using spare WCML capacity for enhanced commuter or inter-regional passenger services. Even more benefits could be delivered with policies that ensure greater occupancy of these medium-distance trains. This highlights the value in ensuring that future rail franchises are set up so that they are able to unlock the spin-off benefits of HS2. However, the carbon savings from using the additional unclaimed capacity of three train paths per hour in each direction for freight are considerably larger still, adding 55% to the direct carbon savings from HS2. This is such a strong advantage that it will be worthwhile examining complementary measures to ensure that a major switch from HGV road haulage to railfreight is achieved as a consequence of HS2.

As well as the extension of HS2 further north, wider policies that would have greatest effect in terms of maximising the potential of HS2 to reduce carbon emissions include:

a) Ensuring the rate of electricity decarbonisation set out by the Committee on Climate Change is delivered. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended an ambitious decarbonisation trajectory for the UK’s electricity sector which would result in the average HSR carbon emissions per passenger reducing by 92% by 2050. A slower but still relatively ambitious reduction in the carbon intensity of electricity could see the total HS2 carbon savings in the base scenario reduced by nearly one-third. A scenario in which there is a second ‘dash for gas’ and therefore slower decarbonisation would reduce the HS2 carbon benefits by two-thirds.

b) Air capacity regulation and management. HS2 will reduce the number of passengers making short-haul flights, and even the first stage of HS2 brings about a significant reduction in carbon from aviation, estimated at 2 MtCO2e over the life of the project. The question of how this result is affected by subsequent decisions on the numbers of runways and their levels of use at the congested South East England airports cannot be addressed at a national level because constraints on airport development in one country may simply move the location of airlines’ hubs to other countries. Even if there is an uptake in longer-haul flights in place of displaced short-haul services at Heathrow, the aviation sector carbon reduction benefits of HS2 might therefore be achievable, particularly with appropriate regulation and management.

c) Management and regulation of the motorway and trunk road network to reflect the external costs of driving. Policies to manage the capacity and use of the strategic road network, including through pricing mechanisms, could increase the carbon savings of HS2 and would help ensure that the benefits of mode shift to HS2 are sustained. It is not possible to optimise the carbon savings by looking at individual travel modes in isolation; management of their use needs to be considered together.

d) Transport and spatial planning policies to encourage sustainable travel choices. Ensuring that HS2 serves locations of high demand density and locations where there is high capacity public transport should be a planning aim. The accessibility boost that HSR can provide to cities is a unique quality. It can be used to magnify the carbon benefits of HSR if complementary policies on spatial development seek to foster an intensification of development in urban areas so as to reduce trip distances and the need for private car use.

Obviously, Mr Steer hasn’t got the foggiest idea what the carbon intensity of aviation, cars, electricity generation, or whatever, would be in the period 2026 to 2086; because future events such as rates of technical progress, and demand distribution for travel, are not knowable. But in showing a relatively large net reduction in emissions from classic rail carbon, Mr Steer’s diagram implies a substantial reduction in train kilometres and connectivity for non-HS2 towns like Stoke-on-Trent, Peterborough, Bolton, and Coventry.

Department for Transport, historic estimates for mode contribution to UK greenhouse gas emissions

Even though calculation of carbon emissions for past years is not an exact science, the Department for Transport climate change factsheet gives an insight into the relative importance of greenhouse gas emissions by source. For the year 2009 alone, UK domestic transport emissions were estimated by DfT at 122.2 million tonnes, and the UK total was 607.2 million tonnes.

In the improbable event that Mr Steer’s estimates were accurate, the ‘direct’ carbon reduction from HS2 over the whole period of 60 years would be ((1.8 – 1.2)/607.2)*100, i.e. 0.1% of the United Kingdom’s total emissions for the single year 2009.

The Campaign for Better Transport and CPRE heart Greengauge 21

The secondary measures mentioned in the Greengauge 21 report are not dependent on HS2 for their implementation. But, through its National Planning Policy Framework, the coalition government is moving away from the approach mentioned by Mr Steer, in favour of a plus-laissez-faire approach to land-use planning.

Written by beleben

September 27, 2012 at 10:46 am

HS2 and inter-regional travel

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In its briefing on the government’s high speed rail white paper, the pro-HS2 Campaign for Better Transport noted that rail has just 4% of the Manchester — Birmingham market. According to HS2 Ltd, high speed rail would cut the Manchester — Birmingham rail journey from 1 hour 31 minutes, to 41 minutes; and the Leeds — Birmingham rail journey, from 2 hours 1 minute, to 57 minutes.

So could HS2 transform connectivity and initiate modal shift in Britain’s regions?

Although its title referred to ‘HS2 London — West Midlands’, the April 2012 Demand and Appraisal Report produced by MVA Consultancy included usage estimates relating to the Leeds / Manchester Y network concept, including a year 2037 estimate of rail travel between some regions.

MVA Consultancy for HS2 Ltd, average weekday rail demand between selected regions in 2037

MVA’s report suggested that HS2 would produce an 18% increase in rail travel between the West Midlands and the North West, which, in absolute volume terms, is not significant. Between the West Midlands and the region of Yorkshire and the Humber, the report suggested a 94% uplift from HS2 (though starting from a much lower base). Even so, in volume terms, a 94% increase from not-very-much, is still, not-very-much.

HS2 Ltd’s official journey time comparisons nearly always cite those few places with stations actually on the Y network, rather than other origin-destination pairs (e.g. Birmingham to Liverpool, Coventry to Rochdale, Wolverhampton to Stockport, Birmingham to Hull, Nottingham to Bradford, etc).

A fundamental weakness in the HS2 concept is the limited number of access points, which increases local leg and interchange penalties. In Britain’s economic geography, a HS2-like rail scheme is very bad for connectivity, providing minimal or negative advantage for the origin-destination constellation in Yorkshire and the Humber, North West England, and the West Midlands.

Written by beleben

September 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Le tram-train de l’ouest lyonnais

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Lyon Gorges de Loup, prior to tram train conversion works (pic by first phase of the tram-train de l’ouest lyonnais opened on 22 September 2012. The €294 million project involves reconditioning and extension of the electrification of the RFF railways west of the city of Lyon, which run into its St-Paul terminus, near the old town. Pending commissioning of 24 Alstom Citadis Dualis tram-trains for the west Lyon lines, SNCF has been using X73500 autorails as a stopgap replacement for the venerable ‘vanille-fraise’ diesel railcars (pictured).

The project is another example of the superior quality of metropolitan public transport investment in continental Europe, compared to Great Britain. Of Birmingham’s “partner cities”, Lyon already has a rubber tyred metro and trolleybuses, Milan has an extensive underground railway, and Leipzig is constructing an S-Bahn tunnel under the city centre.

In the last couple of years, West Midlands transport authority Centro has been championing tram train interoperability, but its policy making has been riddled with inconsistencies. The single largest ouvrage d’art on Midland Metro Line One — the Queen’s Head viaduct, near Handsworth — was built expressly so that Centro trams would not need to be interoperable with Network Rail trains. And, so far as is known, Centro’s recently-ordered Urbos trams are also unsuitable for inter-running on the South Staffordshire Line.

Plan of the Lyon ouest tram-train projectAlthough Centro’s Rail Development Manager, Toby Rackliff, opined that the newly inaugurated Lyon tram-train provides ‘direct rail access to city centre streets’, that is not the case. The tram-trains are only being used on the RFF tracks from St Paul, and there is no timetable for extending the route on-street to the Part-Dieu. It’s likely that Lyon’s tram-trains are a cheaper option than standard electric multiple units, because the latter are unnecessarily large for the level of demand. In Britain, the economics are more likely to favour conventional rolling stock, except where on-street operation is an integral part of the economic case.

Lyon tram train on test, Fleurieux-sur-l'Arbresle

Written by beleben

September 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Bikes and metropolitan public transport (part two)

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Midland Metro ridership compared to bus and local rail

Midland Metro, which runs between Birmingham and the Black Country, is a tramway system seemingly designed to encourage the use of private cars. Fares are extremely high, services stop every few hundred yards, connectivity is poor, and cycle-enabled journeys are not supported. None of the Midland Metro stops offer secure cycle storage. No surprise, then, that ridership has stagnated at around 5 million passengers a year ever since it opened in 1999.

In April 2012, transport authority Centro signed a contract to acquire ‘up to 25’ CAF Urbos 3 tramcars to replace the Ansaldo T69s used on the Midland Metro. However, Centro has stated that it does not intend to remove the current prohibition on bicycle carriage.

The first section of Tranvía de Zaragoza, the Aragonese capital’s new tramway, opened in April 2011, and it uses Urbos 3s, which are manufactured locally. The operating company allows riders to take their bikes on the tram.

Las bicis son bienvenidas, se permite entrar con ellas al tranvía cuando el periodo de paso de unidades por paradas es mayor a cinco minutos, siempre y cuando no suponga molestias para el resto de usuarios en caso de alta ocupación.

Written by beleben

September 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm

HS2 and traffic congestion

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‘Congestion is proving costly for Birmingham businesses -– we need HS2’, according to Centro’s Go HS2 blog.

Birmingham businesses are suffering unacceptable delays and rising costs caused by congestion, according to a Chamber of Commerce survey.
Birmingham Chamber chief executive Jerry Blackett said that, although half of the businesses responding agreed regional transport infrastructure was ‘fairly good,’ something had to be done to reduce road congestion.

“It is clear from our survey that congestion is costing our businesses money and harming their reputations.

“These are difficult times and we must do all we can to remove these obstacles and ensure business in Birmingham is as competitive as it can be.

Mr Blackett is a keen supporter of HS2 and said a new high speed rail network would release capacity on existing lines for more passenger and freight services.

The reality is somewhat different.

  1. As a ‘long distance’ transport scheme, HS2 would not offer any direct decongestion benefit for local West Midlands travel. The only two points in the West Midlands connected by HS2 would be Birmingham Curzon Street, and Bickenhill.
  2. The secondary decongestion benefit (through re-use of ‘freed rail capacity’) from HS2 in the West Midlands would be minimal. The only West Midlands rail line relieved by stage one (London to West Midlands) would be the Birmingham — Coventry — Rugby section of the West Coast Main Line.

    Even there, the capacity relief offered would be limited, because of the need to retain acceptable rail journey times from the Black Country to London. HS2 would only reach the dead end station at Curzon Street and would not speed up travel between Wolverhampton, Sandwell, and the capital.

Written by beleben

September 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Birmingham, Centro, HS2

Tagged with

HS2 and low carbon transport, part two

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Greengauge21, The carbon impacts of High Speed 2, Sep 2012The Campaign for Better Transport press release for Greengauge 21’s “The Carbon Impacts of High Speed 2” report stated that HS2 could deliver greater carbon reductions by

sensible complementary policy measures

and by

making full use of the capacity that HS2 will release on the existing railway.

It might be worth looking at the ‘crucial factors’ for ‘greater carbon reductions’ mentioned by CBT.

Crucial factor 1: The electricity used to power the high speed trains is low carbon and how quickly this decarbonisation is delivered

Nowhere in the Greengauge report is ‘low carbon’ electricity defined.

At the national level, the amount of greenhouse gases from transport would depend on the total quantity of transport produced in the economy, not just the specific emissions per kilometre.

HS2 is a system intended to increase longer distance travel; on HS2 Ltd’s estimate, a fifth of all traffic would be new journeys. How is that compatible with an objective of reducing carbon emissions?

The report also sidestepped the issue of non-greenhouse gas pollutants, and the nature of the electricity generating capacity used to power HS2.

If HS2 energy were generated in nuclear plants, that would not be carbon-free, and there would be non-carbon pollutants (i.e. nuclear waste, which requires treatment and long-term storage).

Crucial factor 2: New development is focused around the stations served by HS2, encouraging use of public transport, walking and cycling

It’s hard to see how focusing development around HS2 stations would have much effect at the national level. In the current version of HS2 Ltd’s Y network, there are just nine stations, serving just four cities directly:

* London Euston
* Old Oak Common

* Birmingham Curzon Street

* Manchester central (precise location undisclosed)

* Leeds central (precise location undisclosed)

Four of the stations would be on the urban periphery:

* Manchester outskirts (precise location undisclosed)
* East Midlands (precise location undisclosed)
* South Yorkshire (precise location undisclosed)
* Bickenhill

Crucial factor 3: High-speed rail stations are located in city centres rather than on the urban periphery

As noted above, four of the nine Y network stations are likely to be on the urban periphery.

Crucial factor 4: The additional capacity that is created on the conventional railway is used to its full potential, especially for rail freight which would result in fewer lorries on the roads

What exactly is the “additional capacity” that is created on the conventional railway by HS2? The report does not say. (It’s worth remembering that most existing capacity goes unused, most of the time.)

Rail-enabled journeys not starting/finishing at the nine stations of the proposed Y network would need to use the existing network.

The capacity created by HS2 on the legacy railway would be mainly seats, not paths. HS2’s effect on path capacity on the existing network is marginal. Increasing utilisation of the WCML for railfreight would inevitably require corresponding cutbacks to passenger service.

Crucial factor 5: Policies are put in place to take passengers out of cars and planes and on to HS2

What would those “policies” be, and how would they take passengers out of cars and planes and on to HS2? The report does not say.

Written by beleben

September 21, 2012 at 11:39 am

Objective substantiation

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The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld three of six points of a complaint about an advert by the HS2 Action Alliance comparing HS2 with the 51m proposal. The three other points were not upheld.


A magazine ad for HS2 Action Alliance, a group opposed to the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway development.

The header on page one stated “We’ve charted the likely impact of HS2*. It’s bad …”.

Further text stated “The impact of High Speed 2† … £33 billion capital cost … More losers than winners … No benefits until 2026/2033 … Benefit cost ratio 1.6 – 1.9” and “Greater Anglia, Southern Western and Brighton Main Lines have much worse overcrowding than West Coast Main Line today but massive expenditure on High Speed 2 will inevitably limit improvements elsewhere. All Great Western Main Line services will be decelerated by 5 minutes because of an additional stop at new station at Old Oak Common”.

The page featured a map of the UK rail network with station names in various colours. A key stated the various colours represented “Clear Benefits”, “Some Benefits”, “Neutral”, “Some Disbenefits” and “Clear Disbenefits”. Some stations were also numbered between one and four. Small print stated “*Basis of the maps is available on HS2AA website” and “†Benefit cost ratio and 2033 high speed service pattern sourced from ‘Economic Case for HS2: Updated Appraisal’ published by the Government in January 2012”.

The header on page two stated “… the ’51m* Alternative’ is good news for everyone”.

Further text stated “The impact of the ’51m Alternative’ … £2 billion capital cost … No losers … Benefits from 2017 … Benefit cost ratio 5.17† … No service cuts to existing network”, “West Coast Main Line (WCML) … Increased long distance and commuter capacity … Some faster journey times” and “Midland Main Line … Electrification … Increased capacity … Improved journey times … Capital investment available for other, more overcrowded routes”.

The page featured a map of the UK rail network with station names in various colours. A key stated the various colours represented “Clear Benefits” and “Potential Benefits: Investment available for other routes”. Small print stated “*51m are the group of 18 local authorities opposed to High Speed 2” and “†Atkins report for Department of Transport”.


Yes to HS2 challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:

1. the “Disbenefits” for the stations and lines shown on page one; [Upheld]

2. “Greater Anglia, South Western and Brighton Main Lines have much worse overcrowding than West Coast Main Line today but massive expenditure on High Speed 2 will inevitably limit improvements elsewhere”; [Not Upheld]

3. “All Great Western Main Line services will be decelerated by 5 minutes because of an additional stop at new station at Old Oak Common”; [Upheld]

4. the “Potential Benefits” for the Great Western Main Line, Brighton Main Line and South Western Main Line on page two; [Not Upheld]

5. “£2 billion capital cost” for the ’51m Alternative’; [Upheld] and

6. “Capital investment available for other, more overcrowded routes.” [Not Upheld]

HS2 Action Alliance, extract from advertisement on impact of HS2 (Aug 2012 version)

The original ad is apparently not available online, so it’s difficult to assess some of the points. The August 2012 revision, which is online, claims the impact of HS2 is

(a) £33 billion capital cost
(b) more losers than winners
(c) no benefits until 2026/2033
(d) benefit cost ratio under 2
(e) £7 billion cuts on existing network.

I would have thought that items (a), (c), and (d) are not really disputable, but who knows. For example, if one construed construction industry activity as a ‘benefit’ rather than a cost, there would be ‘benefits before 2026’. But as far as travellers are concerned, there would be disbenefits in the period to 2026, due to disruption.

Item (b) is a plausible outcome, if ‘more’ refers to the totality of people travelling, or potentially travelling, by rail. However, objective substantiation would be problematic, because the Department for Transport is silent on the details of classic line use post 2026/2033. I am unaware of any government/HS2 Ltd estimate valuing existing network cuts at £7 billion (item (e)), that may be HS2 Action Alliance’s estimate. I recall seeing £2.3 billion and £3.3 billion being mentioned elsewhere as government/HS2 Ltd estimates.

On the upheld complaint about Claim 3 [“All Great Western Main Line services will be decelerated by 5 minutes because of an additional stop at new station at Old Oak Common”], the ASA stated

In relation to Thames Valley, South Wales and West of England stations the basis for the claim was that all journeys to and from Paddington would be decelerated by approximately 5 minutes as a result of stopping at Old Oak Common. We noted Old Oak Common was likely to be a large interchange station where a number of different rail services stopped. We considered that for some rail passengers there would be a benefit from this additional stop and interchange, and did not consider that a possible additional 5-minute journey time would necessarily have a large impact on other customers, although we recognised that its impact would vary and might be of importance to customers such as business travellers. The ad did contain text relating to the additional stop, but we did not consider it made clear this was the sole basis for the claim regarding “clear disbenefits” in relation to these stations.

Whether some or all Great Western Main Line services would stop at Old Oak Common HS2 interchange, is unclear (and seemingly outside of HS2 Ltd’s remit and control). If some trains stopped and some didn’t, there would be a line capacity penalty — which is a disbenefit, just as much as a lengthening of journey time is. The ASA seem to have erred in not appreciating the magnitude of disbenefits from stopping GWML trains twice in four kilometres. A 5 minute journey time extension on HS2 cut its official BCR from 1.6 to 1.3 (see diagram).

High level assessment of the impact of journey times on the economic case (Source: HS2 Ltd)

I’d be surprised if the economic disbenefits to Great Western passengers from stopping, or selective stopping, at Old Oak Common are represented in the HS2 economic case. Anyway, rewriting claim 3 along the lines of

“Great Western Main Line services would incur delay and capacity disbenefits because of an additional stop at Old Oak Common”

would appear to be unchallengeable.

Written by beleben

September 21, 2012 at 10:50 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

HS2 and low carbon transport

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Campaign for Better Transport heart Greengauge 21

Today’s press release from the Campaign for Better Transport claimed that “HS2 can help deliver a low-carbon transport system – but not on its own”.

19 September 2012

Government’s plans for High Speed rail can help meet carbon emissions targets – but only if supported by a set of bold policy initiatives which are not currently in place.

That is the message from a new report (note 1) commissioned by three prominent environmental organisations and published today.

Government has identified HS2 as an important part of their plans for a low-carbon future (note 2). Building HS2 on its own delivers a modest saving in carbon of 0.6 million tonnes of CO2 over sixty years.

Government needs to put in place a wider package of policies to ensure HS2 is as green as possible. Doing so would quadruple the emission savings. But if Government abandons its sustainability policies, HS2 could result in increased emissions.

The report highlights that greater carbon reductions can be achieved by sensible complementary policy measures and by making full use of the capacity that HS2 will release on the existing railway. The crucial factors are whether

1. The electricity used to power the high speed trains is low carbon and how quickly this decarbonisation is delivered

2. New development is focused around the stations served by HS2, encouraging use of public transport, walking and cycling

3. High-speed rail stations are located in city centres rather than on the urban periphery

4. The additional capacity that is created on the conventional railway is used to its full potential, especially for rail freight which would result in fewer lorries on the roads

5. Policies are put in place to take passengers out of cars and planes and on to HS2

The report, written by Greengauge 21 for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), RSPB and the Campaign for Better Transport, raises important challenges that Government must respond to if it is to reap the carbon reduction potential of HS2.

Harry Huyton, Head of Climate Change at the RSPB said:

“Climate change threatens to derail our efforts to reverse wildlife declines unless we cut our emissions rapidly. That’s why the RSPB has been involved in this new report, which clearly demonstrates that HS2 could be a vital component of a new green transport system in the UK, but only if it is part of a package of low carbon policies. We are looking for decisive action from Government to put the measures in place that would ensure HS2 is used to its full and, critically, to ensure that the electricity used to power the trains is low carbon.”

Ralph Smyth, Senior Transport Campaigner, at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said:

“If its stations are put in the right places – in towns and cities needing regeneration – High Speed 2 could be key to securing ‘smart growth’.

“Equally, if its stations are imposed in the wrong places – greenfield sites poorly served by public transport – HS2 would not only fail to reduce carbon emissions it would also have lower economic benefits. This research is another great example how going green is good for growth.”

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said:

“HS2 will release capacity on existing rail lines – particularly the West Coast Main Line. Using this for freight currently carried on road could have big carbon saving potential. But it won’t happen unless Government signals now that it will make strategic investments in the freight potential of the existing network.”

Jim Steer, Director of Greengauge 21 and co-author of the report said:

“The report offers thorough research into HS2’s potential effect on carbon emissions. What it shows is that the first phase of HS2 will lead to a modest reduction in carbon while adding transport capacity, potentially meeting both sustainability and economic growth aims.

“The beneficial carbon effect, modest in the first phase, is increased fourfold by the planned extension of HS2 further north. And if Government responds positively to the challenges identified, then these carbon benefits can be magnified for both phases.”


For further information contact:

Andrew Allen, Press Officer, Campaign for Better Transport, 020 7566 6483 / 07984 773 468 /

Nik Shelton, Press Officer, RSPB, (01767) 693554 / 07739 921464 /

Jack Neill-Hall, Senior Press Officer, CPRE 020 7981 2819 / 077 3933 2796

Notes to editors

1. The new report “The Carbon Impacts of High Speed 2” was today published by Greengage 21. Greengauge 21 is a not-for-profit organisation, established in 2006 to research and develop the concept of a high-speed rail network, as a national economic priority.

The report can be downloaded from the Greengauge 21 website.

2. Then Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, made a Written Statement concerning HS2 on 10 January 2012, setting how the Government will develop a new high speed rail network.

3. The report was commissioned by the following organisations:

The RSPB is the UK charity working to secure a healthy environment for birds and all wildlife, helping to create a better world for everyone.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy.

Campaign for Better Transport is the UK’s leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people’s lives and reduce environmental damage.

4. The research was sponsored by Siemens, the Association of Train Operating Companies and SYSTRA.

The report is short on calculation and assumption detail. So I have asked Greengauge 21 if they will provide better particulars.

The report was 'sponsored' (?) by rail industry entities Atoc, Siemens, and Systra

In the phrase “low carbon transport”, what does “low” mean, in numerical terms?

Written by beleben

September 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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