Decarbonising transport in Britain to fight climate change for a better tomorrow.

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Sustainability brochure

The need for sustainable mobility solutions in Britain

Transport is the largest emitting sector in the UK, responsible for over a quarter of emissions. Decarbonising transport is vital to combat climate change and reduce air pollution whilst enabling economic growth. The Government has announced that UK rail should reach its lowest carbon base by 2040 and challenged the industry to remove all diesel trains from the tracks by that point. Scotland has gone even further, announcing their target date to decarbonise passenger rail services as 2035.

Decarbonising transport

Moving people and goods as efficiently as possible has clear social and economic benefits. As the UK recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic sustainably increasing transport capacity to support economic growth and job creation to level up the economy is more important than ever.


Combined with the need to meet challenging net zero targets, and poor air quality contributing to disease and even death, reducing emissions and promoting modal shift to low carbon forms of transport – effectively encouraging green behaviour – is essential for us all to thrive.


Siemens Mobility’s innovative technology solutions, data and digitalisation capabilities can be used to provide clear passenger benefits to improve the travel experience from the first to the last mile, with up to date information and communication to support their travel choices. This also ensures operators have the tools and information at their fingertips to effectively manage their assets. Investing in low carbon transport solutions means we can sustainably increase transport capacity, reduce congestion and improve air quality – making it more attractive for people to turn to public transport for their travel needs.  

This is the essences of modal shift - the shift of passengers to lower carbon transport solutions – to create a sustainable future. 

UK carbon emissions stats

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of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are from transport*

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of UK transport emissions come from road transportation*

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emissions produced by a passenger train compared to a mile travelled in an average petrol car**

*Statista – Transport emissions in the UK  **Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail

Act now to secure our future

A word from Siemens Mobility Limited CEO Will Wilson

For over a year now the world’s focus, and subsequent news agenda, has rightly been on the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, there were widely-reported benefits to the environment and an associated improvement in air quality.


However, it’s quickly become apparent that those benefits aren’t long-term. This isn’t something that’s driven behaviour change, if anything we’ve seen less green behaviours as people have chosen their car rather than public transport, and yet we still have challenging targets to meet. Those aren’t just tick in the box targets, they are essential to support health and for us all to thrive.

Research that we’ve undertaken with our partner HERE Technologies has shown that road traffic levels, and associated emissions, have quickly bounced back – often, worryingly, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. And that’s before we’ve completely lifted all COVID-restrictions. That’s just not sustainable.


Fundamentally we all know and accept that rail is a low carbon form of transport. Last week’s Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail highlighted that for every mile a person travels, passenger trains produce a third of the emissions of the average petrol car. It also noted, as we are all aware, that COVID-19 had affected passenger numbers and that whilst much of the old demand would return commuting and business travel were quite likely to never be the same again.


So here’s the conundrum. How do we get people out of their cars and onto the railway – that classic modal shift dilemma? And how do we ensure rail is the backbone of a cleaner, greener public transport network? 

As well as getting the basics right to help people make informed choices and plan their journeys better – integration is key here. It’s also about choosing the right solutions and investing in the right areas – whether that’s electrifying our railway or looking at alternative traction options such as hydrogen.
Will Wilson, CEO Siemens Mobility Limited

Hear from some of our experts about the solutions we can offer for a more sustainable transport network

Read how other transport operators are reducing their carbon footprint

Enabling positive impacts through our portfolio

As a company, we support our customers in decarbonising transport with rolling stock, rail infrastructure, intermodal solutions, rail services, and turnkey solutions. We play our part by utilising energy-efficient products and accelerating alternative propulsion systems that use battery or hydrogen technology. Our customers also enjoy the benefits of increased asset value through our lifecycle management strategy; this in turn reduces the ecological footprint of their operations.

Recent events

Have a look at our recent virtual events for deeper dives on our sustainability topics

Clean air for liveable cities (webcast)

In order to achieve a turn in transportation and make a significant contribution to climate protection, a combination of behavioral changes is needed - and we can all contribute. But it also needs attractive alternatives, such as efficient public transport or good cycling routes, and it needs new and smart technologies to support it all.”
Dr. Maike Schaefer, Mayor of Bremen


Download our sustainability brochure