HOW DID WE GET HERE?

We want to shine a light on how people travel and the impact of transport choices on humanity.

How do people get to work? What makes them choose planes over trains? Do people think about leisure travel in the same way as business travel? Can we tell which modes of transport are cheaper, faster, cleaner and calmer?

We also want to look to the future. Are we there yet? Given what we know and find, what can be done to change people’s transport choices for the better?

Current Behavior

To kick off, we asked people in the UK, France, Spain and Germany a set of questions about their transport choices. Here’s what they told us …

Planes over trains for domestic holidays

More respondents in the UK, Germany and Spain fly than take the train for domestic holidays.

Nicht wichtig

24% of German respondents said that the environment was ‘not at all important’ to their transport choices. 17% of British, French and Spanish respondents felt the same.

51% ‘will not fly less this year’

Over half of respondents said they will not fly less this year compared with last year.

‘Travel time’ has the biggest influence

‘Travel time’ has the biggest influence on transport choice for both leisure and corporate travel.

Green Spaniards

43% of Spanish respondents say that the environment was ‘very important’ to their transport choice. Only 18% of British, French and German respondents felt this way.

British respondents care less about the environment when making transport decisions

Only 5% of British respondents said ‘environmental concerns’ was the primary driver for their transport decisions, compared with over 10% in France, Germany and Spain. This is despite trains being greener than planes.

18% said the environment was ‘not at all’ important

Green is not mainstream. 18% said that the environment was ‘not at all’ important to their transport decisions. 31% of respondents said it was ‘quite’ important. Only 23% said it was ‘very important’. This is despite trains being greener than planes.

50% said ‘cheaper fares’ would make them choose planes over trains

50% of travellers say it will take ‘cheaper fares’ to make them use trains more than planes. Yet, our Plane v Train analysis shows that trains are cheaper on 4/5 routes we studied.

THE FACTS

Our first data investigation compares planes and trains across 5 short-haul routes in Europe* based on cost, speed, co2 emission, choice, and heartbeat.

Use our interactive table to see which transport mode comes out on top.

Select a journey to compare travel stats

By Train By Plane
Cost £98 £100
Time 197 mins 308 mins
Emissions 16 CO2 kg 122 CO2 kg
Choice 2,299 1,894
Health work in progress work in progress
By Train By Plain
Cost £49 £139
Time 179 mins 292 mins
Emissions 11 CO2 kg 77 CO2 kg
Choice 3,814 632
Health work in progress work in progress
By Train By Plain
Cost £98 £100
Time 197 mins 308 mins
Emissions 16 CO2 kg 122 CO2 kg
Choice 1,434 1,990
Health 88.5 bpm 124 bpm
By Train By Plain
Cost £96 £140
Time 249 mins 274 mins
Emissions 9 CO2 kg 97 CO2 kg
Choice 779 984
Health work in progress work in progress
By Train By Plain
Cost £43 £79
Time 305 mins 247 mins
Emissions 2 CO2 kg 120 CO2 kg
Choice 1,591 1,489
Health work in progress work in progress

Changing Behavior

The data is telling us that the plane isn’t always the best transport option for travel. Yet, when we looked at ‘current behaviour’ in section one, we saw that travellers are still choosing planes over trains, with no intention to fly less over the next 12 months.

There seems to be a mismatch between what travellers say vs. what they do. Why is this? and more importantly, how do we change this going forward? Becasue at the end of the day, our climate is changing, so why aren’t we?

Explore some of the initiatives that are already changing travel behaviour today.

Why ‘flight shame’ is making people swap planes for trains

The flight shame movement is about feeling accountable for your carbon footprint – but it is also about rediscovering the joy of rail travel

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Easyjet to offset emissions from all flights

Responding to the growing ‘flight shame’ movement. Many aviation companies are adopting carbon offsetting programmes in an attempt to offset their carbon footprint. Examples of programmes include reforestation and the prevention of deforestation, investment in renewable energies and working with communities to reduce their emissions.

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Swedish rail company SJ takes on digital transformation to perfect customer experience which results in passenger growth

SJ has become a digital role model for companies in its sector, after spending 10 years working to improve customer experience and now selling almost all of its tickets through digital channels. As a result Sweden has seen continued growth in rail passnegers throughout, and most recently reported an 11% increase in passenger traffic.

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Sweden has invented a new word – “flygskam” to encourage people not to fly. And it’s working!

Passenger numbers at Swedish airports dropped 8% in 2019. The fall-off coincides with the rise of Sweden’s latest buzzword: “flygskam”, or flight shame, which is resulting in travellers deciding to take the train rather than fly.

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Even airlines are calling for people to fly less

Dutch airline KLM has launched a campaign asking people to fly less. The new campaign called “Fly Responsibly,” encourages travellers and the aviation industry to help make the world aware of it’s shared responsibility around minimising the impact flying has on the environment. Acknowledging the onus on us to leave a beautiful world for our children to explore, it asks viewers “Do you always have to meet face to face.” “Could you take the train instead?”

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High speed rail is shifting market share from planes to trains

Across the world, high speed rail is already shifting market share from planes to trains. As an example, High Speed One cut journey times from London to Paris and Brussels to around two hours and saw rail’s share of the travel market to these cities grow to over 70 per cent.

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Employers ease flying guilt by awarding extra holiday time for rail travel

Employers are easing the flying guilt by awarding extra holiday time for rail travellers. More and more companies are helping to promote a cultural shift towards low carbon leisure travel by offering perks for clean travel adoption, where employees are rewarded additional holiday days if they choose to travel by train rather than plane where feasible.

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Corporate travel programmes using carbon tracking tools to reach sustainability goals

Companies are introducing carbon tracking tools to help track travellers emissions from trips, and using that data to adopt more environmentally friendly travel and accommodation policies, such as advocating the train when it makes sense to do so, since train travel reduces emissions by as much as 90% compared to flying.

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Dutch government wants to scrap flights between Amsterdam and Brussels

The Dutch House of Representatives wants to put a stop to flights travelling between Amsterdam and Brussels. The reason? Taking the train is often quicker and is definitely better for the environment.

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New technologies are making trains even faster

A Japanese magnetic levitation train has broken its own world speed record, hitting 603km/h (374mph) in a test run near Mount Fuji. The country is building a new maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya, scheduled to open in 2027. The service will run at a top speed of 500 km/h, covering the 286 km distance in 40 minutes instead of the current journey time of 1 hour 32 minutes.

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What is driving demand in the high-speed rail market?

Japan and China have successfully launched high-speed rail networks that have revolutionised transportation in their regions. For instance, the high-speed rail line between the Chinese cities of Xi’an and Chongqing has reduced the journey time from 9.5 hours to 5.5 hours. Also, the high-speed train has proved to be an energy efficient and environment-friendly mode of mass rapid transport.

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China is building a floating train that could be faster than air travel

China has unveiled a prototype of a new magnetic levitation (maglev) train designed to reach speeds of up to 600 km/h. This means a trip from Beijing to Shanghai that takes about four and a half hours by plane, including preparation time for the journey, and about five and a half hours by high-speed rail, might last only three and a half hours on the maglev.

Read more>

High speed rail is shifting market share from planes to trains

Across the world, high speed rail is already shifting market share from planes to trains. As an example, High Speed One cut journey times from London to Paris and Brussels to around two hours and saw rail’s share of the travel market to these cities grow to over 70 per cent.

Read more>

Travellers don’t walk the green talk – here’s what to do

travelandmobility.tech and price-prediction booking platform Hopper, tested whether travelers’ intentions to travel greener translate into action.

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Politicians to introduce a low-cost flight tax

The CSU state group in the Bundestag is demanding a “penalty price tax” on cheap flights within Europe in order to cut carbon emissions. They want climate protection instead of competitive prices

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Finance world leading the way in climate change strategy adoption

Environmentalists have praising the finance sector for it’s commitment to climate change. With Goldman Sachs and BlackRock both putting the enviornment at the center of their 2020 strategy.

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Simplifying Stockholm’s transport ticketing

Stockholm’s SL is implementing a new ticketing system that makes use of contactless and optical tickets (QR-codes) as well as support for EMV cards, and the use of wallets. When it comes to ticketing, their aim is to build a system that is easy to understand, easy to use and which provides customers with multiple ways to buy tickets.

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Germany cuts fares for long-distance rail travel in response to climate crisis

Fares for long-distance rail travel in Germany have dropped for the first time in 17 years, as climate protection measures aimed at making train travel more attractive came into effect with the new year.

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New ‘Split ticket’ tool helps passengers save money on rail fares

Thousands of passengers could save money on rail fares as “split tickets” become more common. Split Ticketing is when buying multiple tickets to split one journey into sections can work out to be cheaper than having a single ticket. Booking site Trainline has recently released a SplitSave tool to help find travellers find cheaper journeys.

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Eurostar is looking to expand into Spain, Italy and Portugal

Rail firm bosses are looking to expand international rail routes to Italy, Spain and Portugal, creating dozens of new ‘seamless’ services from London to European cities and holiday destinations.

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Strong growth for Leo Express as demand for comfortable train services results in rapid expansion plans

Prague based open-access operator Leo Express carried more than 2.4 million passengers in 2019, up 33% from 1.8 million in 2018. Leo Express says it expects to carry more than 3 million passengers in 2020 and will focus mainly on expanding train services, with an option for up to 30 additional trains.

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UK passengers are paying at least 30% more than their counterparts in other European countries

There is widespread recognition that the UK rail industry has problems in terms of efficiency and costs. On 20 September 2018 the Government launched a “sweeping review to transform Britain’s railways.” Williams Review aims to shape the future of the UK railway and make it more affordable for travellers.

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Cross country collaboration creates new rail routes that will beat air travel times

A strategic project between the governments of Malaysia and Singapore will see the introduction of the new Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR). This will facilitate seamless travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and cut the travel time between the two cities to 90 minutes. Currently the flight time between these two countries is 1 hour, but whne tyou factor in the travel and check-in time to/from the airport, the new train line will be much quicker for travellers.

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NEW TICKETING TECHNOLOGY IS EASING TRAVEL ACROSS MULTIPLE MODES OF TRANSPORT IN SWEDEN

In Sweden it is already possible to plan, book, pay, and ticket all segments of a multi-modal journey. Meaning you don’t have the hassle of searching for and going to several websites (the rail website, the local transit website, the express bus website, and taxi websites) just to plan the journey; you don’t have the hassle of processing multiple payments on those different websites; and you don’t have to worry about managing tickets from multiple sources.

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UK rail report reveals 80% of rail tickets are still booked off-line

The report revealed some fundamental areas of focus for the UK rail industry. The emergence of third party retailers and technology advances have had a small impact on online booking adoption and our report shows there is still some way to go. This, in part, is due to the persistent reliance on the ‘orange ticket’. There will always be customers who need on-the-day ticket office services, but delivering, purchasing and ticket fulfilment improvements are a huge opportunity for train operating companies. The technology we are developing at SilverRail will continue to take the customer view and dismantle the barriers, remove complexity, and make online rail booking simpler and easier for all.

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