Speedy, Green Travel Favored in Spain


Spain’s Alta Velocidad Espanola train is destined to win the race against carbon emissions.

Spain’s Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) high-speed rail service is providing a greener, and more enjoyable way to travel short distances. For example, approximately six million people travel the 325 miles between Barcelona and Madrid each year. In previous years, 90 percent of those people have been taking it to the skies to do so. The number of jet-setters is lower these days, with frequent short-distance travelers choosing the speedy train.

According to analysts, rail travel emits one-fourth of the carbon dioxide emissions created by flying or driving. With such large numbers of people regularly taking the train instead of flying, it should really help toward reaching the country’s goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 20 percent in the next decade.

Although the rail service will generously aid in environmental efforts, most passengers on the AVE do not choose the service because it’s greener, they choose it because they like it better. The trains are comfortable, offer numerous amenities and don’t require passengers to check in early. The last point is particularly important to business travelers who frequently journey back and forth between cities.

Soon all of Europe’s short-distance routes may be dominated by high-speed trains rather than airplanes. The shift is considered a huge advancement toward the EU’s fight against harmful emissions. In this matter, the US is still lagging behind. Spain alone is expecting to budget $80 billion for rail travel, while $8 billion has been set aside for the entire United States. The good news is that steps are in place for greener, easier and more enjoyable travel for everyone.

Editor’s note: Article by Katie Leavitt. Originally published by our friends at Tonic.com. Tonic is a digital media company and news source dedicated to promoting the good that happens each day around the world. Tonic tells the stories of people and organizations who are working to make a difference, by inspiring good in themselves and others. Be sure to visit them and say hi, and follow Tonic on Twitter, too!


Image: dominguin