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CER and UIC publish booklet on rail transport and environment

16 September 2015  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) have jointly published a booklet containing facts and figures on rail transport and environment.

CER and UIC release booklet on rail transport and environment

The new booklet on rail transport and environment aims to support decision makers with comprehensive data on the environmental impact of the different transport modes.

A significant account in the joint publication states ‘rail is one of the most energy-efficient modes of transport and generates significantly lower CO2 emissions than other modes. Increasing the modal share of rail in line with 2011 Transport White Paper targets would result in an estimated reduction of 238 million tonnes of CO2 a year, equivalent to 19 percent of EU27 transport emissions in 2010.’

The publication highlights rail as an enabling factor for sustainable mobility due to it being 3-10 times less CO2 intensive compared with road or air transport; rail’s share of transport energy consumption is less than 2 percent despite a market share of over 8.5 percent; land use per passenger-km for rail is about 3.5 times lower than for cars and rail’s average external costs (i.e. the costs of the negative effects of transport, such as air pollution, that are not paid by the users themselves but borne by the society at large) are more than four times less than road’s for passenger services, and more than six times less for freight services.

Increasing the modal share of rail would result in an estimated reduction of 238 million tonnes of CO2 a year

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “Rail contributes to reducing the transport users’ environmental burden on society with its exceptionally low total external costs. However, very limited progress has been made at EU level in addressing internalisation of external costs across all transport modes. CER looks forward to the Road Package for measures towards full and mandatory internalisation of external costs for road as for rail transport as advocated by the 2011 Transport White Paper.”

UIC Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux commented: “This booklet contains data and analysis of the European rail sector’s performance. It charts the primary role that rail has in sustainable development and clearly illustrates the unrivalled efficiency of the European rail system. In his message to the July 2015 UIC General Assembly, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban-ki Moon emphasised the importance of reporting data in an open and transparent manner. In response to this we are proud to present the highest quality data, provided by the European rail operating community and collected using the UIC Environmental Strategy Monitoring System.”

CER and UIC’s European members agreed targets in 2010 to drive the continued improvement of rail’s environmental footprint. The targets have now been updated and listed in the booklet with further ambitious objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions until 2030 and an agreed vision for sustainable mobility until 2050.

The booklet ‘Rail transport and environment: facts & figures’ can be downloaded here.

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