"Responsible Transportation" is a term that refers to the use of transportation methods that are sustainable, cost-effective, and benefit the communities they serve. In the context of regional rail, "Responsible Transportation" means utilizing existing infrastructure and retrofitting rolling stock and locomotives to increase their efficiency and reduce their environmental impact.
While high-speed rail is exciting and gets a lot of attention in the media, it is not always the most responsible mode of transportation or investment. Building and maintaining high-speed rail lines can be incredibly expensive, and the economic impacts may not always be beneficial to the communities they serve.
Retrofitting existing infrastructure, on the other hand, is a more cost-effective and responsible option that still provides a very fast mode of transportation that can provide significant benefits to communities and the environment.
We presently are exploring two programs to bring responsible rail to Alberta. “Connecting Neighbors” and “Connecting Communities”
1. Rail for All: Connecting Communities - Calgary-Edmonton Corridor:
The Responsible Rail project aims to bring numerous benefits to underserved communities along the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, focusing on enhanced connectivity, transportation justice, economic growth, improved quality of life, airport connectivity, and reduced emissions. It's a project that strives for fairness and transportation equity for all communities along the corridor.
Benefits Rail for All: Connecting Communities:
1. Accessible Transportation: Prioritizing affordable transportation for all Albertans, reducing traffic on roads and highways, and providing access to jobs and education.
2. Economic Growth: Boosting sustainability and economic development in smaller Alberta communities while enhancing the quality of life for all residents.
3. Airport Connectivity: Connecting major international airports for efficiency and accessibility.
4. Reduced Emissions: Significantly reducing CO2 emissions compared to air travel, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly transportation option.
The Five Pillars of “Connecting Communities” Approach
1. Safety: Prioritizing safety measures to prevent accidents.
2. Equality: Ensuring that all communities, especially underserved and indigenous ones, have their rights and interests respected.
3. Sustainability: Implementing sustainable technologies and practices to lower our carbon footprint and to help Alberta reach its carbon reduction targets.
4. Practicality: Using new advanced technologieslike hydrogent and electic battery on freight-compatible rolling stock (using exsisting track with new sidings and community stations).
5. Accessibility: Making rail systems accessible to all, including passengers with disabilities as well as the underserved rurual and indigeniuous communties found along the Cal-Ed corridor
The Cal–Ed corridor: A Center of Economic and Cultural Dynamism
The Calgary–Edmonton corridor is a vibrant region with strong economic and cultural dynamics. It attracts newcomers to Canada, offers opportunities for young professionals, and provides a safe and enjoyable environment for families.
Rail for All aims to support the region and its growing travel demands by providing the necessary transportation system capacity and attractive travel options in terms of speed, convenience, comfort, reliability, and transportation equity. Our financially affordable investment will create a sustainable backbone for transit systems, creating net value that exceeds its cost.
Building Rail for All means frequent, flexible, and dependable transportation options that are accessible to all residents, ensuring transportation equity. We envision a transportation system that simplifies the travel experience, transforming a 19th-century rail system into a modern and efficient one for the 21st century, while promoting fairness and inclusivity.
Tourism Economic Impact Implications
Rail for All also offers numerous benefits to the local tourism industry, particularly through the use of green hydrogen technology. This technology minimizes environmental impact and aligns with the growing interest in sustainable travel options within the tourism industry. With green hydrogen technology, tourists can enjoy a comfortable and eco-friendly ride between Calgary and Edmonton, showcasing Alberta's commitment to sustainable tourism and transportation equity.
Our program also includes connecting the two airports in Calgary and Edmonton, providing an efficient and seamless travel experience for tourists who want to explore both cities. This connection allows travelers to fly into one airport and depart from the other, expanding their travel opportunities and enabling them to explore more of the region while ensuring transportation equity.
By investing in capital improvements to the existing CP rail corridor, Rail for All creates a new travel option for tourists, reducing reliance on overcrowded highways and roads. Tourists will benefit from frequent, flexible, and dependable transportation options, making it easier for them to visit popular destinations such as Banff and Jasper National Parks while ensuring transportation equity.
Overall, Rail for All’s sustainable and convenient transportation options will appeal to tourists who prioritize environmental responsibility and seamless travel experiences, as well as transportation equity. By creating a robust and modern transportation system that considers transportation equity, Rail for All becomes a key driver of the tourism industry in the region, offering benefits to both tourists and local businesses.
“Rail for All” and Tourism Economic Impact Implications
The aim of Integrated Travel is to provide a regional transit system that meets the needs of commuters from the suburbs and outlying municipalities, offering convenient transportation options through the congested Calgary–Edmonton corridor. Our mission is to champion, develop, and implement an integrated transportation system that enhances prosperity, sustainability, quality of life, and transportation equity. We call this “Rail for Everyone”
We strive to create a regional transportation advantage, bolster the region's global competitiveness, protect the environment, and improve the well-being of people and communities.
A passenger rail service provides an opportunity to showcase emerging and future technologies. We plan to adapt selected rolling stock for batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, or other sustainable technologies.
While “Rail for Everyone” service will have unique characteristics, it shares similarities with commuter and regional rail systems in other city regions worldwide. These systems typically offer frequent service, use CFR-compliant rolling stock, predominantly utilize surface rail lines, and have good connections and integration with local transit.
Integrated Travel’s “Rail for Everyone” aims to enhance connections between towns and cities in the Calgary–Edmonton corridor by utilizing the existing Canadian Pacific rail corridor to a greater extent. By investing in capital improvements to the existing CP rail corridor, we can provide additional transportation capacity cost-effectively, generating important economic, social, and environmental benefits, while ensuring transportation equity. With the population of the Calgary–Edmonton corridor expected to grow, Integrated Travel plays a crucial role in meeting the region's transportation needs and promoting fairness in access to transportation.
Over the course of 10 years, our capital infrastructure investment program will enable us to provide faster and more convenient transit for residents of the Calgary–Edmonton corridor, ensuring transportation equity. Our goal is to offer comfortable and stress-free travel experiences that cater to the needs of commuters from all backgrounds and income levels.
Please note that the Integrated Travel’s “Rail for Everyone” program outlined is subject to change and refinement as discussions proceed with CP, the City of Calgary, the City of Edmonton, and other municipalities in the Calgary–Edmonton corridor. Additional planning, design, and engineering work will lead to adjustments to this program, laying the foundation for the future expansion of the Integrated Travel system with a focus on transportation equity.