Investing in 192,000km of rail infrastructure in low- and lower-middle-income countries could avoid of up to 1.8 Gt of CO2 emissions by 2050, a significant contribution to achieving global sustainability goals
This would also bring substantial broader socio-economic benefits to countries
Coordinated action from governments, the international finance community and the railway sector can help unlock the required investment
On the occasion of the UN’s inaugural World Sustainable Transport Day on 26 November 2023, Alstom, a global leader in sustainable and green mobility solutions, has taken part in a comprehensive study highlighting the potential of rail infrastructure expansion in low-income countries (LICs) and lower middle-income countries (LMICs) for mitigating climate change. Jointly conducted by the International Union of Railways (UIC), the University of Birmingham and Roland Berger, the study provides input for discussions to be held at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). It highlights key recommendations as to how governments, international finance institutions, the international community and the railway industry need to work together to invest in rail and decouple economic growth in LICs and LMICs from transport emissions growth.
The study, titled “Bridging the rail finance gap: challenges and opportunities for low- and lower middle-income countries” underscores the essential role of rail infrastructure in driving sustainable development in these countries. It shows that expanding rail infrastructure by up to 192,000km (180,000km interurban and 12,000km urban) could allow the modal share of rail to quadruple to 8%. This could allow the avoidance of 1.8 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions by 2050, a globally significant contribution to climate action. It would also create formal jobs and deliver benefits in terms of increased accessibility and connectivity, as well as bringing much lower negative external costs in comparison to other modes.
“This study lays out a concrete roadmap for transforming transportation through sustainable rail infrastructure. It clearly demonstrates how targeted investments and strategic planning in rail systems in low-income and lower middle-income countries can lead to substantial CO2 reductions and support sustainable development. This is about making tangible progress in our global environmental goals while shaping the future of mobility” stated Cécile Texier, Vice President CSR and Sustainability, Alstom Group.