Economy & Rail

For the past century, transportation has fuelled the world’s economy. In recent decades, road and air have dominated many nations’ transportation investments to the detriment of the most sustainable solution to mass transit – rail. For the planet’s economic and environmental health, it is time to restore the balance between road, air and rail.

Transform Crisis into Opportunity

Transform Crisis into Opportunity

Nations are facing the worst economic and financial crisis since World War II. Ironically, this crisis offers the best opportunity to shift societies towards sustainable transportation. Investing in rail stimulates economies while reducing CO2 emissions and urban congestion.

In Europe alone, rail projects in excess of 27 billion EUR currently await funding. It is time to earmark today’s economic stimulus packages to make long overdue investments in rail technology, infrastructure and vehicles.

Invest in Rail, the Economy and the Environment

Many countries will step up their investment in rail over the next two to five years. Rapidly expanding and increasingly congested countries such as China and India are already investing heavily in high-tech rail projects. Building intercity rail lines is the highest priority of China’s US$585 billion stimulus package.  For the first time, the United States is giving rail a significant share of its stimulus package.

But we can and must do more.

Rail Makes Economic Sense

The numbers speak for themselves.

  • Urban congestion wastes energy, time and money. Rail relieves this congestion.
    • The average congestion cost per peak traveler increased from US$129 in 1982 to US$708 in 2005.
    • In the U.S. alone, congestion translated into costs of $78 billion in delays and fuel in 2005.
    • In Europe, the cost of congestion in terms of delay and wasted fuel negatively impacts the GDP by 3%.
  • A two-adult household using public transportation saves $6,251 per year compared to those with no access to transit.
  • External costs associated with passenger car travel are, on average, three times more than an equivalent trip by rail.
  • The fuel saved by public transit increased from 151 million gallons in 1982 to 340 million gallons in 2005.
  • Rail transit expenditures equal about 5% of total automobile facility costs (roads and parking).
  • For every $1 billion in federal investment in public transportation, 47,500 jobs are created.

Cost of Delaying Climate Action

Cost of Delaying Climate Action

Investment in rail is also necessary to achieve the planet’s sustainability goals. Rising transport emissions could put the EU’s ability to meet its 20% greenhouse gas emission reduction target by 2020 at stake. Shifting from road to rail will significantly reduce this effect.

A United Nations study suggests that delayed climate action will cost at least a continuous 5% of the world’s GDP. Achieving the needed CO2 emission reduction by 2050 would cost only 1.1% of the world’s GDP. By acting now, we can stimulate the economy and fight global warming. The climate is right for change and trains.

Rail is the Answer

Rail is the only sustainable transportation solution to many of today’s environmental, social and economic challenges. 

Challenge Rail solution
Global warming Most environmentally friendly mode of transportation
Volatile fuel costs Lower energy consumption*
Urbanization Reduced congestion*

Less land usage*
Aging population Accessible and comfortable for all ages
Infrastructure renewal and maintenance costs 20 times lower per ton-kilometre*

*Compared to road transportation

Working Together for Sustainable Mobility

Governments, local authorities, operators and manufacturers must collaborate to make sustainable transportation more attractive. Manufacturers are constantly innovating to do their part. Ultra-modern light rail systems, metros and commuter trains help cities breathe. Comfortable regional trains offer attractive inter-regional and region-to-city connections. Intercity and high speed trains link urban centres – rapidly, economically and sustainably.

Bombardier offers the rail industry’s broadest product and service portfolio. Our solutions play a pivotal role in shaping the future of sustainable mobility. They compete with road and air in speed, comfort and reliability without the dramatic environmental impact.

Get on board – think economy, think rail.