Integration of the Multimodal Transportation System

Looking out to 2030, it is reasonable to predict a significant increase in the demand for freight and passenger transportation services. Even marginal annual growth, in the range of 1 to 2 per cent, compounded annually, will result in significant increases over a 20-year period. Increased demand will inevitably result in capacity constraints in the transportation system. Further, expansion of existing infrastructure will be challenged by the scarcity of land in Canada's major urban centers. As such, all modes of freight and passenger transportation must be used in the most efficient manner. This can allow for the productivity gains required to maintain Canada's international competitiveness.

Governments can work with the railway industry in creating a collaborative fully integrated transportation supply chain for freight and integrated passenger transportation system. The rail industry recognizes that each mode of transportation has a comparative advantage in particular circumstances and must be appropriately utilized, within a market based system, to achieve maximum efficiency gains.

The goal of a multi-modal approach to freight transportation supply chains and passenger transportation systems is the ability to use the appropriate mode of transport for movement of goods and people. For example, essentially all oceangoing freight requires a transfer to other modes of transport, namely rail or road. Similarly, a significant portion of rail freight requires the use of road transportation to reach its final destination. For passengers, rail should be better connected to other modes of transportation such as airport and public transit. Governments must invest in appropriate infrastructure to assist in the interconnectivity of the transportation modes. Federal leadership in the development of the Asia Pacific Gateway and Trade Corridor is an excellent example of the federal government leading the implementation of a strategy, in cooperation with other levels of government and all modes of transportation, to increase capacity and fluidity of goods movement. In addition, the Canada Line that links the Vancouver International Airport to transportation services located in central Vancouver is good example of multi-modal passenger connectivity. Going forward, the rail industry, in cooperation with other modes, must work closely with Government to ensure that public investment, where public benefits are realized (i.e. road/rail grade separations and improved access to transload facilities) and reforms to transportation policies lead to efficiency gains.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transportation in North America

Cross-border cooperation to improve environmental performance of the North American freight system is urgently needed-not just to enhance environmental sustainability, but to safeguard regional economic competitiveness, according to a new report from the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

The Secretariat of the CEC-a trinational commission established as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)-examines environmental matters arising as part of continental trade and makes occasional recommendations to the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the CEC Council of cabinet-level (or equivalent) environmental authorities.

Entitled Destination Sustainability: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transportation in North America, the report which focuses on road and rail transport, finds that while emissions from light-duty vehicles are expected to drop by 12 per cent by 2030, freight truck emissions are projected to increase by 20 per cent.



Media Contact:
Alex Paterson
Public Affairs Coordinator
Telephone: (613) 564-8111

To see the difference that you can make by shipping your freight with rail, we invite you to use the RAC's Rail Freight Greenhouse Gas Calculator, click here.

To learn more about LEM Program, click here.

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Rail Trends

The Railway Association of Canada's Rail Trends provides a ten-year composite of financial and operating statistics for a comprehensive review of the business of transporting goods and people by rail in Canada. This review covers virtually all interveners of rail - the Class 1s, regional freight companies, short lines, intercity passenger, commuter and tourist train... MORE >