Our negative environmental impact is the result of using fossil fuels, among other things. This causes air pollution due to CO2, SO2, NOx and other emissions and particulates which have a negative impact on the climate, nature and health resulting in social costs. The use of 100% green power for trains and buildings has considerably reduced our impact over the past few years, even by 50% compared with 2014. Land use, waste, water consumption and noise nuisance also have negative environmental impacts.
Compared with the use of cars, however, travelling by train does have a positive environmental impact. Travelling by train avoids a certain amount of air pollution because pollution produced by trains – and public transport bicycles – is low compared to car journeys and alternatives for the first and last mile. The positive impact of train travel on noise and land use compared with cars consists in the roads and noise abatement measures that are not required because passengers are opting for the train. We have only calculated the positive environmental impact compared with car use for ‘elective passengers’, i.e. those who are willing and able to make a choice between the car and the train.
Our negative environmental impact improved by €4 million in 2019, due in particular to the increasing share of replacement buses that run on biofuels and of green gas for stations and workshops. The positive environmental impact of travel with NS compared to car use rose to €301 million as a result.
Negative environmental impact
The negative environmental impact was €76 million in 2019 (2018: €72 million), broken down into approximately €7 million as a direct consequence of NS operations and approximately €69 million in the transport sector as a whole including the first and last mile, the manufacture of trains, plus electricity and infrastructure.