A new index by the International Union of Railways (UIC) reveals significant moves towards renewable energy and efficiency in 2022.
The results of the first Rail Sustainability Index (RSi), which spans the efforts, performance, and prospects of the rail sector in delivering the UN sustainable development goals, reveal a sector looking to capitalise on its sustainable transport status.
Railways have been embraced as the most sustainable mass transport model as the world seeks to tackle climate change and the new report further finds that 59% of the energy used by companies involved in the index now comes from renewable sources.
More than 290GWh of energy were saved over the last three years among the companies reporting through the index and waste recycling and re-use rates have also risen from 64.9% in 2019 to 77.5% in 2021.
NOx and particulate matter pollution has also reduced by more than 40% between 2005 and 2021, according to data from the Traction Energy and Emissions Database reporting companies.
The 2022 Global Rail Sustainability Report is in its first edition and constitutes an open invitation for all rail companies across the globe to collaborate with the UIC Sustainability Platform through knowledge and data sharing as the industry seeks to demonstrate rail’s contribution to the sustainable mobility of the future.
UIC director general François Davenne welcomed what he described as an “impressive range of ways that railways and rail travel is contributing to a more sustainable future,” adding, “Transport is key to fostering human connection. Now more than ever, the global transport community needs to make a concerted effort to deliver meaningful, systemic change that promotes social, economic, and environmental development and will allow future generations to live in prosperity and in harmony with nature.”
Rail is already the most sustainable form of motorised transport and with further developments like hydrogen railways being examined, this position seems unlikely to be challenged in the near future.