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Calculating the cost of travel by air

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Calculating the cost of travel by air

Old 15th Jul 2003, 01:52
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I guess any such study would require that the land under the noise footprint should be included, as well as actual airfield land.

The noise footprint of a big airport is massive. That of a motorway much smaller. That of a main line electric railway much smaller still. And on pollution grounds, the railway wins hands down.

And there's still the factor of untaxed avtur to consider - without worlwide agreements, that's tough one to crack.

SSD
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 02:15
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RBF

3 hr for security/checkin
How do you figure?
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 02:15
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Ploz may be able to post all the stuff here in due course, but one of the studies done recently shows that "rail transport makes more noise than air transport". The impact of noise from air transport is concentrated at origin and departure and is very intrusive in those areas, but otherwise it is silent as far as the ground is concerned. A train makes a smaller noise footprint at any one time but it is in continuous existence throughout its journey and the overall noise impact is arguably greater.
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 04:01
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Also depends on how the electricity is generated to run the train.

Still plenty of places burning coal.
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 04:24
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You bring up the great enigma of Green politics that I have never understood ferris. Actually I don't think Spock's logic could work this one out.

"No nuclear power but we want trains that run on electricity"?!?
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 17:55
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On the subject of comparative land use and environmental impact of rail and short haul air transport, see http://www.cfit.gov.uk/reports/racomp/index.htm

Although not perfect, it is the best study to date that I have found and has been cited in a number times in subsequent studies.
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 18:32
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Also depends on how the electricity is generated to run the train. Still plenty of places burning coal

True, but it's far easier to capture and filter-out the nasties in a powerstation flue than to do the same in the equivalent in each of thousands of car, lorry, and aeroplane engines - also burning carbon fuels.

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Old 15th Jul 2003, 21:13
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How do you filter out Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide?
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 21:59
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Knold 3 hours is the time Air Canada told me to arrive before departure time for two trips YYZ-LAX. Usually at least half of that 3hr. is spent killing time Did arrive 2 hr early at LAX and had 10 minutes to spare.

Now for a debate in the Toronto Globe and Mail on a commentary by their former Editor:
Letter Another Letter Article
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 22:27
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Ferris: If the engine (turbine, diesel, whatever except nuke) is operating properly there shouldn't be any CO, just CO2 and water.

Took my wife's 2002 Honda for it's obligatory emissions inspection not long ago and got back the report with standards for CO, Oxides of Nitrogen, and hydrocarbons and test results entered as "0" in all 3 areas. The dealership said that that was correct and that the car gave off so little of this stuff that the machine couldn't measure it. So maybe it wasn't literally zero but darn close.

The questions on most economical transportation means from A to B would be easy to answer if ther weren't so many artificial or politically driven factors thrown into the machinery... the market would decide. But since there are no perfect markets some analysis is needed. Economics of air vs rail is different in different countries and even regions. In the U.S. it's air by a mile in most places because the distances tend to be longer, and the passenger rail system, except in a few regions, is a joke.
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Old 15th Jul 2003, 22:42
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Maybe I've just be lucky then. I've done two hours but never more.
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Old 16th Jul 2003, 13:32
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Danny's question,

Does anyone know if anyone actually doing a study or research into this question?

We are all familiar with the problems of getting to and from the airport and some of the loops we have to jump through once there but the actual question of the cost, say over 30 years, of operating each form of transport mentioned including the cost, maintenance and environmental impact of the supporting infrastructure does not seem to figure anywhere nearly accurately.

Part of the problem in getting to this figure is that the railways and roads have been in existance for a very long time compared to air travel and have been integrated into the social structure to a far greater degree. I would suggest its only comparatively recently in the UK and Europe that air travel has been seen as an affordable alternative mode of transport. My parents would not have considered flying to Switzerland from the UK 30 years ago, they'd have taken the ferry/train, today I would find it hard to find a reason not to fly. Also what is your base line from where you start measuring. For example:
Trains:
Do you count the generation of the power (electricity or diesel) as part of the environmental impact? It obviously is, but will it make a meaningfull comparison against the impact of producing a tonne of kerosene for example?. Electricity gets to the train along a wire (supporting infrastructure), avgas has to use a pipeline, or more commonly train or road tanker(supporting infrastructure), do you count these?, the list is endless and I don't have the answer to where to start, but I'm farly certain that aviation, and relativley short sectors where there is a reasonable alternative mode of transport might not fare too well.
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Old 16th Jul 2003, 17:55
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In all these debates I want to jump up and down shouting WHO CARES?

I don't care about pollution from burning fuel and I don't care about depleting fossil resources. The pollution is getting less and fuel is plentiful.

The decline of heavy industry emissions in the our country over the past 30 years has more than compensated for any increase in transport emissions. The air is now far far cleaner in out cities than it was in the golden years of the 1950's when barely the local Vicar had a Morris Oxford that did 3,000 miles a year.

Just like the car the modern gas turbine engine puts out a fraction of the pollution of its 30yr old ancestor. Logically then we can afford to see a doubling or quadrupling of flights without any net increase in pollution - so where's the problem?

And don't give me noise.

There isn't a house in London where you can't hear the constant background roar of the road network. There isn't a house in Hounslow that has gone down in value because of Heathrow. I'd love to be able to see the residents associations faces in Hounslow, Crawley and Bishops Stortford when BAA announced it was moving its entire South East Operation to a new site off Kent. A 50% slump is property prices and 100% jump in local unemployment would focus their minds with alacrity I think.


WWW
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Old 17th Jul 2003, 00:11
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Why is it when ever there is a debate about the relative merits of transportation that everyone assumes that passengers are all going from the same starting point to the same ending point? Sure, if I wanted to go from the centre of Glasgow to the centre of London, the train might just be a bit faster when the transit times to airports, check-in etc. is taken into consideration.

However, last weekend I wanted to go from my home in Troon to the mother-in-laws in Chelmsford. (OK, maybe not 'wanted' to go...). Five minutes to Prestwick, one hour check-in, fifty-five minute flight, twenty minute for the bags to arrive and a half hour journey at the other end. Three hours door to door. Try and do that on the train. Even on the way back, with a two hour delay following Monday's problems at STN, I was still home well before I could have hoped for using other forms of transport.

OK, I know this debate is not strictly speaking about transit times but every journey is embarked upon for a different reason and people have their own reasons for choosing one form of transport over another. If they stuck a high speed train link between Troon and Chelmsford (and charged just thirty quid return), I would maybe use it. Until then, it is a no-brianer.

Incidentally, in France they have an extensive TGV service but there is still a good market for domestic air travel.
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Old 18th Jul 2003, 02:08
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If the question is whether air transportation is more damaging environmentally than other methods the simplistic way is to compare a given length of journey by a train, automobile, bus, and airplane. This is a gross oversimplification, but could be useful.

Neither the MEPs original letter or the response to it had any quantitative information in it. Some possible sources for the interested are:

www.aee.faa.gov/emissions/global/IPCC_report.htm on the U.S. FAA web site the office of environment and energy (primarily noise and emissions oriented, though deals some with fuel efficiency) IPCC was an intenational panel talking about aviation effects on global climate through 2050. There are also other references in the www.aee.faa.gov site.

To compare to trains and automobiles the web site www.fra.dot.gov/rdv/environment/index.html gives the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration material with links to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that has data on emissions of various types of power plants, including aircraft, trains and automobiles.

From just a cursory review of the IPCC report the question may be simple but the answers are not. In their work they used a 5% per year increase in aircraft operations (don't all the airlines wish that!) and a 3% increase per year in emissions because as technology improves powerplants get more efficient. It seems that aviation produces about 3% of all manmade (oops human generated, must be PC) CO2 emissions and 17% or so of all transportation emissions. So if aviation hauls more than 17% or so of all the person miles and ton miles of transportation world wide it is more environmentally friendly than other modes, at least in terms of CO2 output.
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Old 18th Jul 2003, 08:43
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WWW, Who cares? well lots of people, in particular lots of people who are not in our industry, but are affected by it.

'The pollution is getting less' really?

'The decline of heavy industry emissions in the our country over the past 30 years has more than compensated for any increase in transport emissions' really?

Logically then we can afford to see a doubling or quadrupling of flights without any net increase in pollution - so where's the problem? really?

Perhaps for the above three you might like to validate your statements, as they fly in direct contradiction to what most of the industry environmentalists are trying to address. If you're right then surely we're all wasting our time.

And don't give me noise. Why not?, after all thats exactly what you're giving someone on the departure or approach each time you fly. Noise is easily described as unwanted/undesired sound, no different maybe from next doors dog yapping all day after you've just done a six sector day and ended up using all your discretion , or Nova boy sitting outside your house wid da bass booming, or are those unacceptable to you because you feel they're antisocial sounds YOU personally might not want. Whats acceptable to you isn't to other people and vice versa.

The aviation industry does not have a unilateral embargo from its environmental impacts, thats why we have environmental impact assessments, airport consultative committees, a department of environment (or whatever they're called this week) etc etc....
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Old 18th Jul 2003, 17:31
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Well said Jumpseater - Emissions are a global problem (as is avaition - global, not a problem) and heavy industry has not declined, it has just moved.

As promissed, here is the link to the HoC Transport Committee report published yesterday. http://www.publications.parliament.u...an/454/454.pdf
Unusually, they have actually taken note of our evidence (which is pleasing ) and on a first scan section 4 on environmental issues is pretty sound.

Reading a bit further, BAA, BA, bmi and CAA all come in for some pretty harsh critisism, but if we go into that, it could start a whole new thread.

Last edited by Ploz; 18th Jul 2003 at 22:08.
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