Total life-time emissions of tramways / light rail much lower than buses and busways, even taking into account construction carbon

See also :


“A first case study has been analysed considering a 4.5 km long transit line. Results show that the tramway system can save up to 75% of CO2 emission.””

There are 2 main components
– embodied energy/resources used in the construction
– energy in use, the day to day energy use to operate the system
“In recent years the attention to the green transport and emission reduction has been increased significantly. European
directives and national ones have introduced restrictions and target for the pollutant emissions. Urban transport systems play
the main role. Transport systems based on electric mobility are suitable for green transport. If the market of private electric
cars is still too small, public authorities have to implement and to develop strategies for the construction and the use of
electrical systems. Considering local public transport, tramway and electric bus lines seem to be the best solution for this
objective. This research wants to analyse the emission carried out from a bus line and a tramway line in urban area.
Particularly the analysis focuses on to the operational emission and the construction one. Often the emissions related to the
construction are ignored while in many cases, especially in urban context, these emissions can reach significant values. A
model has been developed to compare the impacts on the emissions related to the construction of a new tramway and/or
electric bus line. Which is the total emission reduction if a tramway line or electric bus line replaces a traditional one? The
research, through the designed model, tries to answer to this question.
A first case study has been analysed considering a 4.5 km long transit line. Results show that the tramway system can save up
to 75% of CO emission.”
An Emission Model to Compare Bus (ELECTRIC) and Tramway Transport


“Altogether, over a 30-year lifetime, the Attractis tramway system emits 57% less GHG than a diesel BRT, 32% less than plug-in hybrid, and 23% less than fully-electric. “

Its not just CO2 but a LCA Life Cycle Analysis over the 70 year life? of a track system (and 2 x tram) vrs a bus pollution system (and 4.6 x bus’s) to add on the air and water pollution, resource use, etc.

And the track system chosen would differ : LR55 prefab rail beam has less materials, less excavations, possibly less service diversions than a slab prefab rail track system.
This was a study done by Alstom and Carbone 4 consultants on a  GHG Greenhouse Gas emissions (CO2 equiv) of a BRT Bus Rapid Transport  v tramway
you can find the report here
John Daglish