Research from Trainline Partner Solutions has recently shown that 60% of business travellers will consider using rail compared to pre-pandemic times.

In a study carried out on 1,000 people, 20% said they would be willing to switch to rail to reduce their carbon footprint, while 26% stated to prefer trains if they need to reach their destination quicker.

Other reasons included the ability to work while commuting and arriving directly in a city centre.

Researchers also showed that the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted travelling habits, putting a lot of people off from taking a plane. Travellers’ main concern, the study shows, is Covid-19 safety with 41% of responders stating they will take a train instead of a plane. Covid safety is followed by the time spent in airports, of which 33% of respondent think it’s time wasted, and by the environmental impact which concerns 27% of travellers.

A quarter of passengers stated that they felt encouraged to choose trains, after being told that train emissions are 5% compared to the amount that cars and planes produce. A huge majority of business travellers could be encouraged to stop using their car whilst travelling for work, also because of rising oil costs and more luxurious train services being provided.

“When business travel returns, it will not look the same as before the pandemic,” commented Trainline Partner Solutions president Champa Magesh. “One clear long-term trend is employees planning to reduce the impact their travel has on carbon emissions and reduce road travel and short haul flights.

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“Given rail generates less than 5% of the CO2 emissions of air travel and approximately 15% when compared to car travel per passenger, rail is the clear alternative.”

The data revealed that business travellers will still be in favour of taking the train, if journey travels equal the ones made by train and plane. This policy, which was initially implemented in Austria, has recently reached France, where it received mixed reactions.

Environmentalists and railway stakeholders believe that banning all short haul air travel should become the norm.

“The EU and European governments, France included, should ban all domestic and cross-border short flights when passengers can use less polluting transport like rail or bus,” Greenpeace EU spokesperson John Hyland told Airport Technology in April.

According to Magesh, all these factors will create a big increase in demand throughout the whole sector. “With this expected surge in demand from new passengers, rail operators, travel sellers and businesses need to be prepared,” she continued.

“To capitalise on the opportunity ahead, it’s critical business travellers have access to rail options.

“International rail is complex, with content often needing to be sourced from multiple suppliers, all with different tech standards and specifications. Our mission is to simplify rail travel to help more businesses put it at the heart of employees’ journeys so they can make greener travel choices.”