AREMA Sustainability and Resiliency Position Paper

Executive Summary/June 2024

AREMA is committed to the development and advancement of both technical and practical knowledge and recommended practices pertaining to the design, construction, and maintenance of railway infrastructure. 

The railroad industry has and continues to connect people and communities resulting in economic growth and greater prosperity by providing one of the most efficient modes for the transport of goods. Designing, engineering, and innovation, has been an ongoing achievement since early rail operated on coal and steam which transitioned to diesel in the mid-20th Century. 

Today, the industry is at the precipice of another significant transition, this one characterized by a profound shift toward sustainable energy and resilient infrastructure. For example, North American and International railways and transit organizations are embedding sustainability into innovation and production plans, specifically looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. AREMA’s governance, structure, and depth of knowledge positions it to be Relevant, Ready, and Responsive to its members and the industry. 

More than two years ago AREMA’s leadership, with support from Technical Committee 13 - Environmental, began to integrate sustainability and resiliency into its organizational charter. AREMA’s Technical Committee 13 - Environmental developed an internal Sustainability and Resilience Position Paper that detailed an action plan to collaborate with all Technical Committees on sustainability and resiliency topics. 

The Position Paper was adopted by the AREMA Board of Directors and establishes the framework and foundation to facilitate AREMA’s Technical Committees incorporation of sustainable and resilient best practices and strategies into their deliberations and activities.  There are already solid practices in the industry and those efforts will continue. 

To be the pre-eminent engineering association for North American and International railways and transit organizations, the technical and training materials developed by AREMA must serve as the railway industry recommended practices.  Those technical and training materials must also document sustainable measures that can be incorporated into most recommended practices for railway engineering infrastructure including track, structures, maintenance-of-way, facilities, and communications & signals.

Going forward AREMA recognizes and values that industrial shifts are a journey. AREMA stands ready to ensure that its members and the industry at-large have access to the relevant information and is ready to respond with the right decisions at the right time to ensure that this industry advances into this next century. 

Primary Position Paper - Approved by Functional Group Board of Directors/February 2023