UITP, UIC and UNIFE join forces to stress environmental importance of public transport

Posted: 3 June 2020 |

The rail and public transport bodies have issued a Joint Statement, advocating for the continued support of public transport as a solution to the climate crisis.

UITP, UIC and UNIFE join forces to stress importance of public transport

In a bid to continue its advocacy for public transport during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, the International Association for Public Transport (UITP) has issued a Join Statement with the International Union of Railways (UIC) and the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE).

By collaborating to examine the changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and to determine the next steps for the sector, the Joint Statement aimed to give public transport “a central place in the world of tomorrow”.

The Statement outlined that one of the major ramifications in the world continues to be the rising dangers of pollution and climate change, and urged that climate action is still required by all, despite some of the air quality improvements seen during the pandemic.

The organisations suggested that rail and public transport are part of the solution. They noted that European rail accounts for 7.6 per cent of passenger and 17.6 per cent of freight transport, but only creates 0.5 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions. It was also highlighted that urban rail, with its 0.12 kWh per passenger-km energy consumption, is seven times more energy efficient than private cars in cities.

François Davenne, UIC Director General, said: “The aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis will be the occasion to build a new normal for the world of tomorrow. Railways have demonstrated their resilience and their capacity to deliver essential services even in these difficult circumstances. We all know that railway and public transport are the key for a sustainable future, provided that they are able to implement seamless multimodal mobility networks. Together UIC, UNIFE and UITP strongly commit to giving a new sense of urgency to the delivery of this paradigm for the public transport ecosystem.”

Philippe Citroen, UNIFE Director General, said: “COVID-19 has quickly brought into focus the necessity for impactful climate action and economic resilience worldwide. UNIFE believes that the EC’s recent MFF and Next Generation EU proposals are powerful recovery instruments that can help complete EU Green Deal objectives but they must be mobilised for the decarbonisation of European transportation. This is only possible through a greater multimodal mobility shift with rail at its backbone.”

Mohamed Mezghani, UITP Secretary General, added: “Public transport provides an essential service in our cities around the world. During the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen how the sector has stepped forward and stood strong during this crisis. As we advocate for its future at every turn, we must continue to recognise the role it plays in delivering action on climate. Public transport and the environment are inextricably linked and with a strong local network, emissions are lowered and our cities become healthier and more sustainable. By working with UIC and UNIFE to examine the changes brought on by COVID-19, we can commit to building a sustainable future, giving public transport a central place in the world of tomorrow.”

The full public transport statement can be found here.