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Rail Transportation Industry Environmental Impacts Case Study


On the whole, rail transportation is critical for the economic development of different countries, cities, or regions. A variety of businesses continuously rely on the movement of freight. Nevertheless, it is also important to make sure that the interests of other stakeholders are not endangered by these activities. For instance, many people want to preserve the quality of air, water, as well as soil. Moreover, many people living near railroads are extremely concerned about noise pollution which can often result in stress or even heart diseases (Tummers, 2013, p. 166).

Therefore, it is necessary to find a compromise that can meet the needs of different stakeholders who have different and sometimes conflicting priorities (Tummers, 2013, p. 166). This issue should be taken into consideration by policy-makers and companies relying on rail transportation. They need to find an effective solution to this conflict. These are the main questions that should be examined in greater detail.


The main issue is that trains consume large quantities of fuel. One should keep in mind that rail transportation contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, the main issue is the fuel efficiency of various trains. In such a country as Canada, this industry account for approximately 5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions (Transport Canada, 2012). Furthermore, it is important to consider the release of nitrogen oxides, organic compounds, and particulate matter (Transport Canada, 2012). These substances can contribute to the risks of various diseases such as cancer. Additionally, one should remember about the dangers arising during the transportation of hazardous materials. These are the main details that can be distinguished.

Significance of the problem

This problem is significant because it affects a great number of people. For instance, there are thousands of people living near railroads, and their health can be endangered. Therefore, they can insist on the necessity to improve the sustainability of rail transportation (Tummers, 2013, p. 166). Furthermore, in the long term, this problem can increase healthcare costs in a particular region (Rogoff & Screve, 2011, p. 65). This is one of the pitfalls that should be avoided.

This problem should not be overlooked because it can lead to legal conflicts between different stakeholders. In this case, one can speak about the disputes between rail transpiration companies and the residents of areas which are affected by the environmental pollution originating from rail transportation. As a result, these organizations may have to pay fines which can result from lawsuits and these costs can also be very large. This is why this issue should not be overlooked.

Development of alternate Actions

This issue can be addressed in different ways. At first, policy-makers may try such an option as the construction of hydrail (Duffy, 2003). Overall, the use of hydrogen-power can reduce greenhouse gas emissions almost to zero (Duffy, 2003). So, this approach can be helpful for improving the quality of air and water. Moreover, in this way, they can minimize the adverse effects on the health of people. This is one of the points that should be distinguished.

Nevertheless, one should bear in mind that such projects are very expensive, and businesses or governments may not afford such a project. Moreover, the construction of hydrails is a very time-consuming process. Finally, the use of hydrogen can result explosion. This is one of the limitations that should be taken into account. Thus, this policy can create significant inconvenience for many stakeholders, even those ones who are only concerned about the protection of environment. This solution does not help people reach a balance between environmental and economic needs.

Moreover, many researchers speak about the benefits of electric trains because they do not produce any direct effects on the environment (Duffy, 2003, p. 58). This approach is currently adopted in many countries that have a very advanced infrastructure (Duffy, 2003, p. 58). Nevertheless, these railroads rely on power plants that often process fossil fuels.

Therefore, this approach to rail transportation can also harm the environment, but the negative effects are not necessarily obvious. Moreover, it may be difficult for companies to procure new trains. If they try to achieve this goal, they may have to charge higher transportation fees. So, this strategy may not be readily accepted businesses that depend on rail road transportation. In fact, their financial performance can be threatened. These are the main disadvantages that policy-makers should be aware of.


Overall, it is possible to consider the use of hybrid trains which rely on diesel engine and battery power (Daryl & Harvey, 2010, p. 310). The application of these technologies can minimize the emission of dangerous chemical substances. To a great extent, this approach has several advantages. In particular, in this way, companies can significantly reduce the costs of transporting freight. Apart from that, this method is vital for improving the quality of air. This strategy can be viewed as a form of compromise between the residents and businesses. This is why it has been selected among others.

Reference List

Daryl, L., & Harvey, D. (2010). Energy Efficiency and the Demand for Energy Services. New York, NY: Earthscan.

Duffy, M. (2003). Electric Railways 1880-1990. New York, NY: IET.

Rogoff, M., & Screve, F. (2011). Waste-to-Energy: Technologies and Project Implementation. New York, NY: William Andrew.

Transport Canada. (2012). Rail Transportation. Web.

Tummers, N. (2013). Stress Management: A Wellness Approach. New York, NY: Human Kinetics.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 19). Rail Transportation Industry Environmental Impacts. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/rail-transportation-industry-environmental-impacts/

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"Rail Transportation Industry Environmental Impacts." IvyPanda, 19 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/rail-transportation-industry-environmental-impacts/.

1. IvyPanda. "Rail Transportation Industry Environmental Impacts." June 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/rail-transportation-industry-environmental-impacts/.


IvyPanda. "Rail Transportation Industry Environmental Impacts." June 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/rail-transportation-industry-environmental-impacts/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Rail Transportation Industry Environmental Impacts." June 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/rail-transportation-industry-environmental-impacts/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Rail Transportation Industry Environmental Impacts'. 19 June.

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