Rail

Tracking Clean Energy Progress

🕐 Last updated Wednesday, 23 May 2018

More efforts needed

The build-out of urban and suburban rail infrastructure, including metro-, light- and commuter-rail as well as high-speed rail, progressed rapidly in recent years, especially in China, India and other emerging Asian economies. Across both passenger and freight rail, efficiency improvements (per km travelled) of 2% are needed to achieve the SDS target.


Share of railway CO2 emissions by country in 2015

Passenger rail is the most efficient mode of transport, accounting for 9% of activity but only 1% of energy demand.

	Share of railway CO2 emissions
China	43.8
United States	12.3
Russia	10.4
European Union	8
India	7.7
Rest of world	17.8
    
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The build-out of urban and suburban rail infrastructure – including metro, light-rail, and commuter rail – as well as intercity and high-speed rail, progressed rapidly in recent years, mostly in China, as well as in India and other emerging Asian economies. This capacity expansion translated directly into growth in passenger rail activity.

Passenger rail transport accounted for 9% of global passenger transport activity (measured in passenger-km), yet only accounted for 1% of passenger transport final energy demand in 2015.


Tracking progress

Passenger rail is the most efficient passenger transport mode, both in terms of energy use and CO2 emissions per passenger-km, and rail lines continue to electrify, reducing the mode’s reliance on diesel fuel. This, among other factors, explains why passenger rail services become gradually more important in the SDS to help reduce CO2 emissions from transport.

Across both passenger and freight rail operations, specific efficiency improvements (per train-km travelled) of 2% are needed to achieve SDS targets.