New data shows rail business travel nearly nine times greener than car

Roger Smith - Contributor 2 comments 4 Min Read
GTP-departure board infographic-green // Credit: RDG

New data shows that taking the train is almost nine times greener than using a petrol/diesel car, over four times greener than using a plug-in hybrid electric car, and nearly two-and-a-half times greener than using a battery electric car.

This data is based on train occupancy, fuel type, exact journey distance and many other factors to calculate the emission data for business travel by rail.

The Green Travel Pledge
The Green Travel Pledge. // Credit:

Some journeys with the lowest emissions per passenger include King's Cross to , to London King's Cross and to International.

From Station in to London King's Cross the figure rises to almost 20 times less CO2 emissions.

The data was developed by Rail Delivery Group in partnership with Thrust Carbon, , Black Box Partnerships and the wider rail industry as part of the rail industry's Green Travel Pledge.

It will help highlight the environmental benefits of rail travel by providing businesses with detailed, accurate, and reliable data on the carbon emissions of rail journeys.

Emission comparisons. // Credit: Rail Delivery Group

It is hoped that the data aims will create an industry benchmark for transport carbon emissions, and is thought to be the most accurate data about carbon emissions for rail business travel in Britain.

Further information about the Green Travel Pledge can be found at

A league table of the 100 greenest business routes compared with road travel can be seen by clicking here.

Jacqueline Starr, CEO at Rail Delivery Group, said: “We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, and the data that we have published reveals that rail is the green choice for travel between our towns and cities.

“We know that businesses need accurate and reliable carbon emission data they can trust. From today, businesses will be able to see the most accurate measure of rail business travel emissions available for the 100 most popular business journeys. This will allow travellers to make greener travel choices by providing reliable carbon data when they book their next train ticket.

“This is an important milestone, but we want to do more. We want to help business travellers to make greener travel choices. Having our Green Travel Pledge data available through global and domestic travel management companies and online booking tools will enable more businesses to choose rail as their first choice for business travel and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Clive Wratten, CEO at the Business Travel Association, said: “We've heard loud and clear from our members and the business travel community that consistency in carbon measurement is an imperative.

“This initiative from RDG on behalf of the whole rail industry has the potential to provide clarity and a robust green message to all parts of business travel.”Sarah Ockendon, Procurement Manager at the John Lewis Partnership, said:   “This will empower us to make better-informed decisions about rail as a sustainable business travel option.

“The Green Travel Pledge will offer a reliable evidence base to demonstrate rail's role in helping us to reach our CO2 sustainability goals.”

Dan Beauchamp, Head of Global & Multinational Consulting at Amex Global Business Travel, said “At Amex GBT, we believe travel powers progress and rail has a fundamental role in driving more sustainable travel.

“We've worked with RDG's Green Travel Pledge initiative since its inception. Access to granular emissions data for rail is a key requirement for our customers as growing numbers of them promote modal shift as an enabler for their sustainability commitments.”

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  • I know it isn’t business but I looked at train tickets from Cumbria to Exeter for our holidays. Four adults came to over EIGHT HUNDRED POUNDS return. The round trip in the car only costs £150! PLUS I have my own car for two weeks! I couldn’t care less how much ‘greener’ it is!

  • Great. But no business traveller will choose to go on a crowded Cross Country Voyager unit in preference to their own car, even if they might be able to book a cheap ticket in advance. Too often the seat reservations are abandoned through some unforeseen disruption. Longer and better designed trains on fully electrified routes are the only solution that will make a real difference here, whatever this study’s data might show.

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