The comments section of this blog seems to be dominated by the almost theologically intense debate about trams v skytrain. So it comes as something of a relief to have another subject suggested. The Sightline Institute (formerly North West EnviroWatch) has asked me to draw your attention to a post on their blog about buses.
The data is American, but favourably compares passenger miles per gallon between intercity bus, train and plane (in descending order of fuel efficiency). It would be nice if someone with time on their hands could dig out comparable Canadian data. Note that we are not talking about city buses – which spend such a lot of time starting and stopping that their fuel consumption is higher, and one reason why hybrids perform better in city traffic.
Intercity passenger trains do not do very well in a US comparison – since the type of service now provided is far inferior to most other advanced countries – and even some third world ones. There is little electrification or even decent speeds outside the North East corridor, and in most places trains use tracks designed for and dominated by freight trains. But of the choices now offered, a well filled bus is quite a good choice (apparently) if you want to reduce your carbon footprint.
Of course most people have other, more pressing concerns.