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Carbon emission reduction potential of urban rail transit in China based on electricity consumption structure

Zhang, Linling, Long, Ruyin, Chen, Hong
Resources, conservation, and recycling 2019 v.142 pp. 113-121
carbon, cities, coal, electric energy consumption, electric power, electricity, energy, greenhouse gases, power generation, traffic, travel, urban areas, China
With the rapid development of rail transit, a vast amount of electric power is consumed each year. However, the generation of electricity, and especially coal power generation, is an important source of greenhouse gases. Therefore, it is very important to analyze the potential of carbon emission reduction of urban rail transit based on specific electricity consumption structures. In this study, 18 cities in China were taken as the research object, and backward analysis was used to analyze the proportion limit of coal power consumption for rail transit in each city under three scenarios from 2015 to 2017. By comparing the limit value with the actual coal power consumed by urban rail transit, we analyzed the potential carbon emission reduction of rail transit relative to other traffic modes. The study results supported several conclusions. First, the traffic demand is in direct proportion to the carbon emission reduction potential in rail transit. Second, for cities with high coal power consumption, the development of ground bus transit is more conducive to achieving carbon reduction targets compared with rail transit. Finally, promoting the development of rail transit technology and lowering the energy consumption per capita unit travel distance are the fundamental ways to increase the emission reduction potential of rail transit. Therefore, as a modern transportation tool, rail transit is not an absolute emission reduction advantage for all cities. A city needs to analyze its own resource structure and travel demand together, set up suitable traffic modes to realize green growth and sustainable development.