Report: Rail could replace domestic U.K. flights

Posted on May 29, 2009

Almost two-thirds of people in the U.K. think high-speed rail could fully replace domestic flights in the country, according to a survey released today by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

The research, conducted for ICE by polling company ComRes, polled more than 1,000 people and found that 63 percent of respondents thought an expanded high-speed rail in the U.K. could end the need for short haul flights within U.K.

“These results show evidence of public support for a high-speed rail network as an alternative to domestic air travel. Our airport runways are already congested, and air travel is one of the biggest contributors of carbon emissions in the U.K.," said ICE’s Director General Tom Foulkes.

“Providing faster, affordable rail services between major cities could reduce demand for short haul air travel, and possibly put an end to it completely. Let’s not forget that Paris to Brussels was once a short haul flight route but is now serviced exclusively by high-speed rail.”

The study also found that the majority of respondents were confident that high-speed rail will boost economic growth (71 percent), reduce congestion on roads and motorways (73 percent), and free up space on existing railway lines (73 percent).

The research was published to coincide with the High Speed Rail - International Experiences event, sponsored by Arup and hosted by ICE West Midlands. Transport Minister Lord Adonis addressed the audience, outlining proposals for high-speed rail in the U.K.


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