Environmental sustainability in cargo and passenger carriage can currently be measured respectively using EcoTransIT and Ecopassenger, two applications that can be used to calculate energy consumption and emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere, according to how cargo and passengers are transported (by air, train, ship or car).

The procedure at the basis of EcoTransIt was developed by the German Institute for Research on Energy and the Environment (IFEU - Institut für Energie und Umweltforschung) in Heidelberg, Rail Management Consultants GmbH (RMCon) and IVE mbh as part of a research project deriving from an initiative by a number of European Rail Carriers including Trenitalia. With regard to EcoPassenger, the relative system of calculation was developed by the Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC), verified by the Institute for Research on Energy and the Environment in Heidelberg (Germany) and approved by the European Environmental Agency and the European Commission. This method was also verified by “Ente per le Nuove tecnologie, l’Energia e l’Ambiente” (ENEA – Organisation for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment) in Italy.

The parameters provided by this model regard consumption/emissions of: 

  • Energy - this includes direct energy consumption by a vehicle and the production and distribution processes entailed
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • CO2 - equivalent (valid only for EconTransIT)
  • Nitrogen Oxide
  • Non-methane Hydrocarbons
  • Overall Powder Emissions
  • Sulphur Dioxide (valid only for EconTransIT)

These parameters are calculated per passenger through Ecopassenger, whereas they are calculated according to ton of cargo or by TEU through EcoTransIT. 

Both these software programmes are based on a databank comprising specific values for each country, such as infrastructure, orographic set-up and domestic energy mix, as well as values common to all countries such as emissions and energy consumption in various models of lorries, trains, ships and aircraft.