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At a local level, bus, coaches, trams and trains have to provide safe, clean, attractively priced services at the times when people want/need to travel. At a regional or national level, Intercity rail and coach services, fed by good local transport links should connect airports to other parts of the country.

At an international level it would seem logical to assume that the ability of any region, within the UKor elsewhere in the world, to play its full part in the Global economy of the 21st Century will be dependent upon the ability of people and businesses of that region to gain access to the global economy.Britain is in a remote location positioned as it is on an island off theNorth West of the European continent. In this respect, it is likely that air travel may have a more important role to play in providing sustainable mobility links than in other more ‘centrally located’ areas where high speed trains could play an important role.

The implications of developing airports as inter-modal transport hubs are wider than simply the provision of ground transport services. Other ancillary services have to be provided to make travel by public transport the most attractive option. It should be easy to travel about the airport site, if passengers arrive in the middle of the night, they need to be provided with accommodation of suitable quality and price. Finally, whatever the quality of the services provided, people need to know about them and find it convenient to plan and book their travel from home.

Meanwhile aviation would continue to be the principal provider of international travel as well as playing a critical role in providing access for more remote and island communities in theUK. In respect of this final issue, adequate provision would have to be made at the major airport hubs to ensure slot provision for some essential, but often ‘thin’, domestic feeder routes. This would suggest a review of the system for slot allocation to take account of social and economic need and benefit.

A transfer of existing air routes from air to high-speed rail for some long distance travel has potential within the UK and on a number of routes from the South East to mainland Europe through the channel tunnel. Recent research at CATE has investigated the relative environmental costs of air and high speed rail travel between some key city pairs within the UK. This has found that the relative environmental performance of air and rail varies between different routes, and differing fuel assumptions for rail are also important. Whatever the environmental implications of different modes it is self evident that maximising the potential for air rail substitution would bring direct benefits in terms of freeing up capacity within the air transport system.

CATE’s research has focussed upon:

– assessing the relative environmental, operational and economic benefits and costs of meeting the demand for long distance travel between city pairs in the UK by air and by high speed train.

– passenger attitudes to using public transport to access airports.

– taking a life cycle approach to establish the current CO2 consequences for meeting air and rail transport demand in the UK

– Establishing the likelihood of possible future technological and operational developments in air and rail transport, thus creating a range of carbon reduction scenarios for UK high speed transport.

– Ascertaining the probability of these carbon reduction scenarios being established into UK transport policy.