Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: A Synthesis of Tradeoffs Related to Shifting from Air to Ground Travel

Research Team: J.R. DeShazo (Lead), James Di Fillippo and Jason Karpman

University: UCLA

Problem Statement: Air travel has a large carbon footprint, prompting efforts to encourage less polluting travel options, such as California’s effort to build a high-speed rail network for interregional travel. While the costs and benefits of shifting away from air transport are critical for policy and decision-making, the existing scholarship in this area is both fragmented across disciplines and incomplete. For example, while many studies have examined the environmental implications of shifting travel modes, whether consumers will make the switch has not been as well examined.

Project Description: This project will develop a comprehensive and concise synthesis of current research on the tradeoffs between air and ground transportation, as well as the social and policy factors that influence consumer choice when deciding by which mode to travel. The synthesis will highlight the most policy-salient findings, such as workforce implications and local air quality impacts. Information on workforce impacts will be particularly salient to the California State Legislature in the coming year as lawmakers grapple with how to stimulate local job creation while also meeting the state’s carbon neutrality goals.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $24,994

Project Partner(s): California High-Speed Rail Authority