Annotated Bibliography|Rail and Road in Innercity Transport

Prosenjit Dey Chaudhury. “Rail and Road in Intercity Transport: Energy and Environmental Impact.” Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 38, no. 42, 2003, pp. 4423–4425.

Within Chaudhury’s work he focuses on the environmental effects that various different modes of transportation have and the benefits and disadvantages of each. However, the main aspects that are highlighted in his report are the differences between railway emissions and automobile emissions. Studies done in India have shown that in urban inner-cities the most environmentally-friendly modes of transportation are railways and support for expanding railways has increased as well. Automobiles use more energy sources and contribute more environmental pollution than “the rail mode” of transportation. The differences are especially visible when rates of pollutants such as nitrogen and sulfur oxides. Based off these observations, the National Transport Committee of India recommended increased construction and utilization of railways into urban regions. Unfortunately, the convenience of automobiles triumphed over trains and roads were expanded instead of railways tracks.


This sources does a great job of explaining the environmental effects of both modes of transportation. Preference for highways and automobiles over railways is a phenomenon seen globally and speaks to the individualistic mindset of placing convenience for the individual over the well-being of the environment in the long-run. Since a drastic decrease in motor transport is not entirely feasible, Chaudhury noted that even the increased use of communal buses over individual cars would be more beneficial to the environment. This report does a fantastic job arguing for the increased use of railway in the inner cities to help preserve the environment and save energy, but it mostly centers on just environmental benefits. Included as part of the conclusion, Chaudhury calls for someone to research the cost and economic affects that would need to be factored in to construct more railways into the inner city.


The author also requests answers “behind the secular drift of traffic away from rail and the particular measures necessary to arrest this trend,” which my essay centers around, but with a main focus on the shift in American culture. Although this study was conducted in India the same societal shifts are seen in America as the railways are abandoned for automobiles, and the environmental effects that these modes of transportation have are universal so they help support my argument for increased use of railways within the United States. Questions that arise out of this text are: Have there been any changes or discussions to utilize railways over automobiles? If so, what was the cultural response?


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