a sustainable move
Freight transport impacts the environment in different ways. To generate a balanced analysis, EcoTransIT World includes the basic parameters energy consumption, carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases as well as the most relevant air pollutants.

Covered environmental impacts of transports

Transportation has various impacts on the environment, such as the consumption of resources, land use, greenhouse effect, depletion of the ozone layer, acidification, eutrophication, eco- and human toxicity (toxic effects on ecosystems/on humans), summer smog and noise. Whereas many environmental accounting tools only focus on the impact of the greenhouse gas CO2, EcoTransIT takes into account other emissions that often form a pre-stage of ozone and summer smog. Besides, EcoTransIT includes energy consumption in its calculation, as resources are limited. Although the categories land use and noise are not taken into consideration, EcoTransIT has focused on all the key air quality issues.

This table displays a summary of the environmental impacts of the pollutants that are taken into account by EcoTransIT.

Abb.Environmental parameterEnvironmental impacts
PECPrimary energy consumptionMain indicator for resource consumption
CO2Carbon dioxide emissionsMain indicator for greenhouse effect
CO2e Greenhouse gas emissions as CO2-equivalent. CO2e is calculated as follows (mass weighted):
CO2e = CO2 + 25*CH4+298*N2O
For aircraft transport the additional impact of flights in high distances can optionally be included (based on RFI factor)
Greenhouse effect
NOXNitrogen oxide emissionsEutrophication, smog, eco-toxicity, human toxicity
SO2Sulphor dioxide emissionsAcidification, eco-toxicity, human toxicity
NMHCNon-methane hydrocarbonsHuman toxicity, smog
PM10Exhaust particulate matter from vehicles and from energy production and provision (power plants, refineries, sea transport of primary energy carriers), in EcoTransIT World particles are quantified as PM10Human toxicity, smog

Primary energy consumption is the key indicator for the consumption of energy resources. Not only does it include the energy consumption caused directly by the vehicle, but also the processes involved in the generation and distribution of final energy. This is the only way to create a truly comparative basis between the various modes of transport with different forms of energy supply and use (e.g. diesel or electric power). The estimation also takes into account the specific character of combined energy sources for each country considered in the system.

Carbon dioxide is the dominant greenhouse gas worldwide. Transport is the only sector in the EU in which CO2 emissions have risen in the last few years. In addition, it is the main greenhouse gas in terms of emitted volume and noxiousness to humans and to the environment. It serves as a reference in computing impacts and formulating results.

Nitrogen oxides (NOX) contribute mainly to the fertilisation of the subsoil and groundwater. The degradation process, called Eutrophication, accelerates the transformation of aquatic content. Moreover, NOx emissions are partly responsible for ground level ozone and thus for summer smog.

Sulphur dioxide the main cause of forest dieback and the acidification of subsoil and groundwater. Sulphur dioxide can also lead to respiratory diseases.

Hydrocarbons Hydrocarbons break down into methane and non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC). Methane is a greenhouse gas of minor importance in the transportation sector. Therefore, it is negligible in computing environmental impacts. The combined effects of non-methane hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of stratospheric ozone and are responsible for smog.

Particals are a severe health hazard. Soot particulates, which are produced by diesel combustion, are now regarded as a cancer risk to humans. They represent the major component of the total dust emissions from diesel vehicles. In contrast, the dust emissions of electrically-powered vehicles are produced entirely during power generation and distribution. While dust emissions are dissipated into the atmosphere at great height (for example through power plant stacks), the distance covered by airborne diesel soot particulates from their source of emission to the human being is much shorter.

Freight and Environment
Freight & Environment
The increasing volumes in freight transport impact the greenhouse gas and other environmental effects significantly. EcoTransIT World enables companies to calculate transport chains, to optimize them and to contribute to the environment protection.
Scientific support
The methodology of EcoTransIT World is continuously improved by ifeu Heidelberg, INFRAS Bern and IVE mbH Hannover and adapted to latest scientific findings...