An integrated empirical analysis of UK rail industry's carbon assessment: An industry perspective

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The carbon assessment of infrastructure products are becoming increasingly important drivers for infrastructure acquisition and climate change response. This emphasises the importance of the rail infrastructure industry accurately assessing and reducing its greenhouse gas contribution. However, assessing the greenhouse gas impact of an infrastructure product is a fundamentally complex global issue. Traditional carbon assessment techniques in the UK railway industry face a number of well-known issues that not only impede the adoption of innovative assessment techniques, but may also jeopardise the industry's 2050 net-zero carbon commitment. Few studies have investigated the problem thoroughly. As a result, this study examines the perspectives of UK rail practitioners on the substantive factors impeding the adoption of integrated carbon assessment techniques. In this study, an empirical analysis based on 14 semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis was carried out. The results shed light on the underlying issues surrounding rail carbon assessment. The findings confirm that current carbon assessment regulations in the UK rail infrastructure industry, due to their lack of prescriptiveness, fall short of driving long-term carbon reduction. Our research also reveals widespread support for the development of standardised greenhouse gas assessment methodologies in order to provide reliable baselines for measuring emission reductions. To drive carbon reduction, we conclude that current carbon assessment techniques must be modified. In this paper, we propose a rail carbon knowledge model for organising organisational knowledge based on the policy, process, people, and technology dimensions. Integrating different perceptions of carbon assessment is a valuable starting point for improving current practices and achieving net-zero carbon targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-330
JournalCase Studies on Transport Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the following organisations for their support of this work: RSBG infrastructure, Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB); Network Rail; High Speed 2 (HS2); Building Research Establishment (BRE), Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS); and Costain.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 World Conference on Transport Research Society


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