ManufacturingAugust 15, 2023

Rail as the Backbone of Sustainable Mobility

Rail is answering the call in addressing the challenges of sustainable mobility, mass passenger transit and freight mobility. How does it deliver on sustainability? For each freight train on tracks that you do see, there are over a hundred trucks on highways that you don’t.
Avatar Luke Stainlay

How can rail be sustainable?

With its environmental advantages, rail is answering the call in addressing challenges of sustainability, mass passenger transit and freight mobility. It plays an important role in the transportation industry as a greener alternative to travel. There is no doubt that the rail freight industry offers a sustainable alternative to highway transport, with a single freight train able to move the equivalent of over one hundred trucks. Rail provides a critical component in tackling climate change by reducing the transportation industry’s net carbon emissions which reduces the negative impact on the environment.  Creating a sustainable rail industry involves addressing various environmental, social, and economic aspects. How does it achieve this?​​

Transitioning from diesel-powered trains to electric trains can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. On top of that, investing in renewable energy sources to power the rail network further enhances sustainability. Modernizing and maintaining rail infrastructure is crucial for minimizing energy waste, adressing climate change, ensuring safety, and enhancing the overall efficiency of the rail network. Integrating rail with other modes of public transportation, such as buses and bicycles, promotes a seamless and sustainable transportation network that reduces the need for private cars. Additionally, adopting sustainable practices in day-to-day operations, such as waste management and water conservation, is essential.

Overall, achieving sustainable mobility level requires a comprehensive approach that considers environmental, social, and economic factors while promoting innovation and collaboration among industry stakeholders. By implementing these strategies, the rail industry can contribute significantly to a more sustainable and eco-friendly transportation future.

Global sustainability report examines railway

The International Union of Railways (UIC) recently released the 2022 Global Rail Sustainability Report, which examines the role of railways and rail travel in fostering a more sustainable future. The report focuses on the efforts, achievements, and performance of the global rail community in working towards the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations. Drawing from the findings of the IPCC report on climate change, the report emphasizes the necessity of efficient and low-emission public transportation systems to effectively meet the climate targets set forth in the Paris Agreement.

It cites that “transport currently accounts for approximately a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions –the sector with the second highest emissions after energy. This is why ensuring that rail becomes the backbone of transport systems is at the core of UIC’s aims. With the goal of building collaborative partnerships, the UIC Sustainability Platform provides a trusted platform for rail companies around the world to connect and share practical solutions to overcome the sustainability challenges for railways.”

Achieving global sustainability objectives  

A crucial element of an effective public transport system lies in the reliability and efficiency of its rail systems and networks. This is precisely where DELMIA’s Planning & Optimization solutions play a pivotal role in attaining global sustainability objectives.

For example, DELMIA’s Rail Planning & Optimization solution enhances the visibility and resilience of rail organizations worldwide, enabling them to operate with greater reliability, efficiency, and sustainability.  It leverages fast and powerful optimization across all time horizons – from long term timetabled planning and crew resourcing, to resolving current disruptions in the day of operations while adhering to 100% of the business and labor rules. The resultant improvements in reliability and efficiency make passenger rail an even more appealing choice. This reduces dependency on private vehicles which further reinforces rail as the backbone of sustainable mobility.​​​​​

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