“Of course it is feasible”: Cedeus supports President Boric’s “rail connectivity” proposal

Within the framework of his first Public Account, after 82 days in charge of the country, the President of the Republic, Gabriel Boric, announced that he had commissioned the Ministers of Public Works and Transport “to promote railway development, electromobility and improve thousands of kilometers of road infrastructure that supports public transport in regions”, among other matters.

In this regard, the President referred to the National Plan for Railway Development, which aims to have “an extensive network of trains for Chile”, which includes improving and increasing freight transport and advancing –gradually– in the construction interregional passenger services over medium and long distances.

As a result of these journeys, the Head of State announced that the Government is working on the train that will connect Valparaíso with Santiago, emphasizing the following: “No more diagnoses and let’s start working seriously.”

“This example is just one of the advances in terms of trains that we will implement, because we are convinced that these advances will make a substantial difference in the quality of life of people and will enable the country to advance towards the inclusive development that we seek,” he said. .

Before the announcement, the professor at the University of Concepción and researcher on mobility issues at the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (Cedeus), Sebastián Astroza, in conversation with The countervalued what was stated by President Boric, addressing the viability of the project.

“Of course it is feasible. There are other projects, such as Santiago-Concepción or Santiago-Chillán itself, that I imagine they want to promote. One would think that there is a demand and that it is feasible to do it, in fact, those services existed before, so the feasibility is,” he said.

“I see an advantage to these services from the point of view of sustainability, because, if one looks at emissions per person with climate change in mind, the train beats the plane and even the buses by far. It is half less polluting than the plane ”, he added.

On the other hand, Astroza indicated that the train is “a means of transport that, depending on its fare, can be an opportunity and an important option for people so that they can move throughout the country versus other modes of transport that are not so accessible.”

“It could be convenient, thinking of time and money, without even looking at the emissions, that the train has the upper hand, and one could think that this mode of transport can be an important option for people and they can use it. It benefits us all, because it is more sustainable than those that are present”, he added.

However, the civil engineer and Master’s in Transportation from the University of Chile, maintains that, despite the fact that there is an announcement at the national level, they have to work together with the regions, since each city has “its own needs” and their own transport methods, so they should not be “confronted” but rather “integrated”.

“I think there has to be a direction at the national level, but it is also true that each locality has its own needs, characteristics and within each region it has to be planned in an integrated way. It is of little use that one thinks of the train as going to be alone. Generally it will interact with another means of transport. It is useless for us to promote a pure means of transport if we do not integrate it with other means, “he stressed.

“I would not see it as a competition, but as it has been tried to do in Santiago, where we do not forget that Transantiago is an integrated system where they are not competing, but both systems are thought of in an integrated way,” he concluded.

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