Urban and high-speed rail infrastructures have scaled up rapidly over the past decade, laying the foundation for convenient, low-emissions transport within and between cities.

Rail Jpg

Key findings

Well-to-wheel (wake/wing) GHG intensity of motorised passenger transport modes


Rail is one of the most energy-efficient transport modes

From their peak in 2019, direct CO2 emissions from rail are not projected to increase beyond just over 100 Mt CO2. Over the past two decades, direct CO2 emissions from diesel rail operations increased through 2019 by less than 1% on average annually (electric rail, which accounts for about 80% of passenger rail activity and half of freight movements, does not release any direct CO2 emissions). To get on track with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, emissions will need to decline by about 6% annually, a goal which requires the electrification of diesel operations wherever viable, as well as blending biodiesel and implementing a wide range of other efficiency measures.