EUROPE: A 5% saving in energy can be achieved immediately and a 15% saving by 2020, according to a two-year EU-backed study into the incorporation of energy and environmental criteria into the procurement of regional passenger services.

A list of 11 technologies and operating measures which can be specified by transport authorities was published for the final conference of the ECORailS project, held in Berlin at the end of June.

The guidelines have been tested in Berlin-Brandenburg, Lombardia, the Øresund region and Timisoara, four areas selected to represent differing conditions found across the EU. Measurements showed the potential savings ranged from 16% in Italy to 30% in Romania. The greatest potential for making savings is through efficient driving techniques, and the guidelines say measures of kWh/seat-km should be considered when awarding contracts.

'These guidelines are a real opportunity for public transport authorities because they can now actively influence energy consumption and noise pollution', said project co-ordinator Matthias Pippert of Germany's Allianz pro Schiene.