Improving transport efficiency

Advances and opportunities to accelerate sustainable transport

Transportation is an essential and integral part of our lives, and the world is seeking ways to reduce emissions and eliminate fossil-fuels. Therefore, we require cleaner, more sustainable and more energy efficient modes of transport.  

Electric trains are one of the most efficient modes of transport available and even when trains are powered by fossil fuels, they are still significantly more efficient than cars and trucks. For this reason, many countries and regions are investing heavily in their rail networks. For example, 2021 is “The European Year of Rail”. This is an EU initiative to promote rail as a sustainable, smart, and safe means of transport. Currently, the EU is calling for massive investments in energy efficiency, and it aims to decarbonize transport, and to promote and support a shift to rail use by both passengers and freight. 

Indeed, around the world, trillions of dollars are being invested over the next decade to improve rail networks in countries including China, India, Russia, and the USA. However, new regulations require the industry to improve its efficiency still further. Given the huge difference in operating needs between an electric car running around 4,500 hours in its lifetime, and an electric train running 6,500 hours a year with performance specifications 20 times higher, this is not a trivial task. 


Read the white paper

Transportation is an essential and integral part of our lives, and the world is seeking ways to reduce emissions and eliminate fossil-fuels. Therefore, we require cleaner, more sustainable and more energy efficient modes of transport.
Read the white paper

The question, then, is how can we improve the efficiency of rail transport? There are several technologies available that can make trains more efficient. These include improving the efficiency of the traction chain and enabling hybrid electric-diesel operation, as well as retrofitting and upgrading older rolling stock. 

This white paper discusses the efficiency benefits of rail over other modes of transport, as well as looking at technologies like traction converters and on-board energy storage. 

Meeting sustainability goals requires concerted efforts from stakeholders in all areas of society. Two examples of forward-thinking companies are Rhaetian Railways (RhB) and Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich (VBZ) in Switzerland, which have adopted new technology as a means to increase value for their business, their customers, and wider society.


Watch the video with Edgar Keller, President, ABB Traction, David Sorg, eBus Project manager, VBZ, and Rene Keller, Project Manager, RhB.

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