Spain's High-Speed Trains Gain Popularity & Cut National Carbon Emissions
Spain is taking the UN directive to cut carbon emissions seriously, and the AVE high speed rail opened in 2008 connecting Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Malaga has reduced air travel between these cities by twenty percent. The trains only generate one-fourth of the emissions of airplanes and offer travelers comfortable surroundings in window-lined cars that zip through the countryside at 200 miles per hour. According to Albert Garcia of the Spanish Railways Foundation, AVE trains are more energy efficient than conventional trains and use nineteen percent less energy.
Even though AVE tickets are about the same as airfare, and it actually takes longer to reach their destinations, the Spanish are nonetheless abandoning air travel and its many complications. “I can get to the station 10 minutes before it leaves,” said commuter Rafael Fernández, “This has changed the way I travel.” Professor Joseph Valls of the ESAE Business School Barcelona observed that “It is not about the environment, it’s that people are very satisfied by these trains. This is really changing the paradigm of travel for Europe.”