Skip to main content
European Commission logo

UIC Sustainability indicators for the railways

Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
UIC Sustainability indicators
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Rail icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Society’s expectations on companies’ environmental and sustainability performance and behaviour are increasing. The market, the decision makers – and the consumers - demand more sustainable products and services as well as proper documentation for performance and continuous improvement. The performance and sustainability indicators were needed to help to map the railway transport. 


The objective of the project is to define six key performance indicators for the rail sector on issues such as energy and climate, air pollution and noise. These indicators enable railways to monitor their environmental performance and to compare themselves to other modes of transport. In addition the project provided several supporting indicators and a stepwise approach-guide to the data collection.

In addition  a voluntary guideline should be developed for UIC members who have signed the UIC Declaration on Sustainable Mobility & Transport and who now wish to report to their stakeholders on the company’s progress in implementing the sustainability approach and commitments set out in the statements of the Declaration.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Non-profit organisation
Institution Name
UIC - Union Internationale des Chemins de fer
Type of funding


The project has following results:

1. A leaflet with 6 key performance indicators for the rail sector - the leaflet contains definitions for six environmental key performance indicators - or "KPIs" - for railway companies (operators, infrastructure managers or integrated companies) as well as explanations on how to produce them. The six indicators are:

  • Energy consumption (traction only),
  • Share of renewable energy (energy mix and bio-diesel),
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (CO2),
  • Local air pollution (PM and NOx)
  • Noise emissions,
  • Land take (area)

The chosen indicators serve to compare the environmental performance of railways and other modes of transport, and enable monitoring of rail transport's share of renewable energy sources, energy consumption, CO2emissions, air pollution, noise exposure and land take. This leaflet is valid for use by all UIC member companies. Due to the strict legislative framework in Europe, several references are made to EU legislation (e.g. for air pollution and noise).

Important system boundaries as well as explanations for data processing are defined for each indicator. Furthermore the reference variables needed to implement the key environmental indicators are specified in detail.

2. UIC Reporting Guideline - the supporting document to the UIC Declaration Sustainable Mobility & Transport. It is a voluntary guideline for UIC members who have signed the Declaration and who now wish to report to their stakeholders on the company’s progress in implementing the sustainability approach and commitments set out in the statements of the Declaration.

The document has following structure:

  • Society: Section A focuses on the overall advantage of rail for the whole society
  • Customers: Section B focuses on the advantages of rail for customers
  • Company: Section C focuses on the responsibility and management of railway companies concerning stakeholders and shareholders.

The document contains:

  • Statement Explanations - statements of the Declaration with explanations about how to understand them, what aspects the statements include and where to focus on when you report about your implementation of the declaration.
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Indicators - a collection of qualitative and quantitative sustainability indicators contributing to the statements/ illustrating the implementation of the declaration in yo

    Innovation aspects

    The definition of the sustainable indicators.

    Policy implications

    Indicators will help assess the sustainability of the railway transport.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!