Wednesday 15 May 2024

UIC at the 75th session of the Working Party on Transport Statistics at the United Nations in Geneva

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The meeting, organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, took place from 24 to 26 April 2024 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The main themes addressed focused on the sustainability of inland transport, including measures relating to the Sustainable Development Goals and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The last part of the meeting was dedicated to the data collection, methodology and harmonisation of transportation statistics, including updates to the Common Questionnaire and Glossary of Transportation Statistics.

Measurement of Sustainable Development Goals

From among all the indicators measuring sustainable development goals at all spatial scales from local to global, the secretariat emphasised that four indicators are relevant for inland transport:
1. Road safety (deaths in road accidents)
2. Access of the rural population to roads in all seasons
3. Modal distribution of inland freight and passenger transport
4. Access of the urban population to public transportation

The secretariat then presented and commented on statistics derived from the “UNECE Transport Database” and the observed trends for these indicators.

Measurement of greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies

To measure the effectiveness of greenhouse gas reduction strategies, five key performance indicators were selected for each mode of inland transport:
1. Greenhouse gas emissions (t CO2 eq)
2. Traffic (,,
3. Carbon intensity (gCO2/tkm, gCO2/pkm)
4. Transport infrastructure (network mileage)
5. Type, number, location and power of public energy supply infrastructures

Six additional indicators were added for a more precise diagnosis:

1. Carbon intensity from well-to-tank and tank-to-wheel (gCO2/km per mode and energy type)
2. Infrastructure suited for intermodal/multimodal transport (mileage)
3. The number of urban terminals
4. Accessibility/inclusivity (percentage of,
5. Empty trips
6. The average speed of freight trains (km/h)

Representatives from Member Countries and interest organisations such as Eurostat, DG MOVE, IEA and ITF-OECD presented work relevant to these themes and indicators. UIC, for its part, first presented data collected from members on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from rail transport as part of the statistical platform’s activities and the “Energy Efficiency & CO2 Emissions” sector. Next, the periodic reports on observed trajectories in terms of CO2-eq emissions compared to the targets set for 2030 and 2050 were presented, and finally, the online application “Eco Passenger” was introduced, which compares energy consumption and emissions for trips in Europe by origin-destination and mode (air/road/rail).

Update of the Common Questionnaire and Glossary of Transportation Statistics (EUROSTAT/UNECE/ITF)

Specifically regarding the section dedicated to rail transport in the Common Questionnaire and Glossary, EUROSTAT proposed several modifications. Concerning infrastructure, new indicators will distinguish interoperable networks from those that are not, and lengths of lines and tracks will be provided accordingly. The scope could also be expanded to include light rail, i.e. tramway and metro, as well as lines dedicated to tourist trains with the creation of new indicators. For rolling stock, new traction modes such as hydrogen locomotives are planned to be included, as well as shunting locomotives, which were not previously counted. For wagons, data will be collected from owning companies, not just from operators. Other modifications have also been proposed and will be discussed by the working group before final decisions are made.

The secretariat also proposed that the Glossary of Transportation Statistics be interactive.

UIC plays a consulting role in updating the Common Questionnaire and Glossary.

The 76th session of the Working Party on Transport Statistics will take place in Geneva on 21 to 23 May 2025

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