Delivering climate action with public transport: not only is this UITP’s main message at COP25, it has also been the core of our four-step Climate Action Plan as part of the #ONEPLANet campaign - the way we move is an essential factor in reducing our carbon footprint and fighting climate change.
Although public transport is already a low-emission sector, it should continue to innovate to ensure clean energy sources are accessible to further reduce the carbon footprint.
Rail may be considered the most sustainable and greenest form of transportation, as in many cases it does not depend (or at least, not directly) on fossil fuels. However, the energy optimisation of rail systems is an important issue to maintain the leading position of railways in the fight against the climate change.
This is where OPEUS came in: kicking off in November 2016, this EU-funded project aimed to optimise the energy usage of rail systems by developing a tool that could understand and measure how much energy is being used by each part of the rail system. By creating this tool, a technology could then be developed that will contribute to an optimal energy use within the railway system. Last year, the OPEUS project bagged the Decarbonisation Award at the Shift2Rail Research and Innovation Awards.
On 27 October, OPEUS held its final event in Paris. Held jointly with complementary Shift2Rail project FINE1, the event gave project partners the chance to present results achieved and to discuss how these results may improve the energy consumption of rail systems in the future.
During the event, a draft position paper on the energy outlook for railway systems was presented. Core messages? While technical measures are important, proper regulatory frameworks and financial incentives supporting decarbonisation are not to be forgotten. Also highlighted were the importance of coordinated efforts by the sector to tackle emission problems, as well as the need for proper land-use and urban planning to support most energy-efficient modes.
Also during the OPEUS Final Event, the key role of rail to tackle climate change was emphasised. Because while improving energy efficiency in rail is important, the real focus should be on improving railway services. As rail is already the ‘cleanest’ way of travelling, ensuring a modal shift towards rail is a much more powerful tool to reduce transport emissions.
As shown by the OPEUS project; we are currently facing many problems when it comes to transport and climate action – but we also have a large variety of initiatives and solutions under our belt. This event was a significant step forward to a more sustainable future.
On 18-19 December, the India Urban Rail Seminar will take place in New Delhi. Click here for more info and how to register!