Greening the rails in Japan

Most people are under the impression that trains are a reasonably green sort of transportation. When used in a city to move people about, the environmental benefits seem pretty obvious. Fewer cars are needed on the roads, decreasing congestion and electric trains are more efficient and create less air pollution than their automotive brethren. But apparently that's not good enough for some folks in Kagoshima, Japan. They realized if they placed some midori (green) around and under the train tracks, not only could they improve the appearance of their town but also reduce the heat island effect caused by acres of concrete and pavement. In the newscast discussing this development a reporter takes a temperature reading while standing on the asphalt street of 62.6 degrees Celsius (143.96 Fahrenheit). Moving over to the grass, the temperature drops to a much more reasonable 35 degrees C (95 F). So far they've done just under 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) but hope to green about 9 Km (5.5 miles) by 2012. The effect on the people of the city seemed positive. The one comment the reporter received from a woman about the improvement that we could understand without an interpreter said it looked beautiful. We agree. Thanks to B.T. for the tip!

[Source: Japan Probe]

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