Taiwan’s high-speed rail system operators have made genuine and comprehensive changes to their operations to benefit their customers and the environment at large.
Understanding the rail system and its benefits.
When it comes to transportation, trains are now, and in the future, will be a major factor in how we move people and goods. Currently, the model of commercial goods transportation and individual movement relies upon cars and trucks; however, as ICEs (Internal Combustion Engines) continue to go out of fashion, railways become more viable. High-speed trains continue to be implemented worldwide as they are affordable, quick, and useful for millions of people.
The concern arises as the metrics that apply to cars for greenhouse gas emissions need to be similar for trains. Showcasing that trains can be a sustainable transportation model is key for a world in which we no longer rely upon cars and trucks for the way we move things. The Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) is taking the initiative to prove this. They have taken several key steps to show that sustainable rail transportation is possible and profitable.
How Taiwan’s rail system works.
The THSRC operates the high-speed rail system in Taiwan, and at the time of its construction was the largest high-speed rail system in the world. Operations started in 2007 with trains running at 186mph, with an on-time record of 99% with no accidents. They have continuously proven a commitment to sustainability, with greenhouse gas inventories taking place regularly, showing their impact on the environment.
The company also is offsetting its GHG output with solar power stations at their maintenance depots and train stations. In 2021, these locations’ annual solar power generation was more than 11,000 MWh. This was in tandem with power conservation measures established by the THSRC, with an estimated 830,000 kWh of electricity saved.
This comes at the same time as they have implemented waste treatment measures. In 2021, the total amount of waste treated was nearly 6,000 metric tons, and 1,600 metric tons of waste was recycled.
They mandate that contractors follow the same model that they do, noting that it “actively implements the concept of green procurement and is committed to improving the sustainable performance of the overall supply chain.”
How this sets the standard for other countries.
Making comprehensive changes to how we operate is critical in the effort to save our environment. Successful models of implementing eco-friendly solutions showcase that we can change without compromising on existing goals. The Taiwan high-speed rail line is a widely used rail system, and not only does it work for the people of Taiwan, but it also works for the benefit of the environment.
As a result of its commitment to reduce its impact on the environment, it has acquired a ‘carbon reduction label,’ and other countries could use this label to benefit companies and organizations monetarily, incentivizing them to make comprehensive changes to their operations. It is possible to maintain the standard of living and improve it as well, all while saving our planet from the negative effects of climate change.