Sustainable mobility, innovation and zero emissions. The challenges for a green future

“Anticipating future challenges and creating value and innovation for the national economic system while, at the same time, improving people's quality of life". The CEO Gianfranco Battisti has no doubts: “In a world struggling with profound and sudden changes linked to environmental factors (climate crisis, loss of biodiversity), demographic factors (expansion of towns, aging population), technological factors (digitisation, loss of interaction) and industrial factors (work, resources, innovations), mobility is one of the most complex challenges that today's society is called upon to deal with. In fact, the transportation sector plays a fundamental role in the well-being of the community”.

The great social and economic changes require companies to direct their resources even more forcefully and incisively. Different choices with regard to mobility in daily habits can, in fact, lead to improvements in terms of traffic, safety, pollution and emissions. Rail transport, in particular, is the solution for making the mobility system in Europe more sustainable. However, concrete actions are needed, at all levels, to redefine a new development model that is shared, sustainable and beneficial to all.

According to the Bruntland Our Common Future report published by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, sustainable development meets "the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". This definition is very topical: the presentation of the Green New Deal, the investment plan that started the European Union's sustainable revolution, is very recent.

It is a long but virtuous path, that the FS Group has already started in Italy. In last the 10 years, Trenitalia's high speed has reduced carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by approximately 20 million tonnes. To give substance to its commitment, in 2019, FS Italiane defined its long-term goals (2030-2050): increment the modal shift for passengers and freight towards sustainable mobility, increase safety on the railway, road and motorway network to the maximum levels, reduce CO2 emissions in order to become carbon neutral by 2050.

These results will contribute to the achievement of five of the 17 Sustainable Development goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015, with the 2030 Agenda: improve the sustainability of infrastructures; promote innovation and industrialisation; make cities inclusive, safe, long-lasting; fight climate change; encourage economic growth and employment; strengthen partnerships worldwide to support sustainable development.

The 58 billion euro in investments envisaged by the FS Italiane Group’s 2019-2023 Business Plan is fully included in the future of the European Commission's Green New Deal. These investments will make it possible to reduce the number of private cars on the roads (400 thousand fewer per year) with 90 million more passengers per year on the FS Group's means of transport. Overall, 600 million kilogrammes of CO2 per year will not be emitted into the atmosphere.

Now, the challenge to be tackled in the transport sector is that of replicating the success of high speed also in regional transport. The new trains, Rock and Pop (purchased also thanks to the green bonds issued by FS) are already a reality. As well as being almost entirely recyclable, they satisfy important environmental requirements that make it possible to consume up to 30% less energy compared to previous generation trains.

The hybrid trains, already commissioned by Trenitalia, will soon be a reality: trains equipped with diesel engines for non-electrified lines, with pantograph for electrified lines and with batteries for travelling on the first/last mile of the non-electrified lines. Batteries make it possible to avoid the use of fuel when trains are stationary, at the station, before departure or when approaching historical town centres, thus reducing noise and polluting emissions with benefits for the environment.