The searches for energy saving and energy efficiency in various fields worldwide, are recognized in the transportation systems and vehicles. Especially, following the petroleum crisis that occurred in 1973, USA, EU countries and Japan have accelerated the research and development works targeting on the energy efficiency and energy saving in transportation. These countries are placing emphasis on the railway, marine and mass transport due to their superior energy efficiency compared to the highway transportation and they are developing railway systems operating at high speeds.

Whilst in the EU countries excluding Greece and Ireland, the ratio of the electrified railway lines approach to hundred percent (Luxembourg) according to 2003 data, it is observed that the average electrical railway line ratio of all EU countries approach to 50%. Turkey’s electrical railway line ratio according to 2003 data is 20.14%. In our country, the rest of the railway sector uses the diesel operation. In diesel operation, the operational costs are 3 folds more compared to the electrical operation. When compared from the energy consumption point of view, in railway transportation less energy is consumed compared to the highway transportation. In the marine transportation, the energy consumption is less than all the other transporation systems.


According to a research made in Germany on the energy consumption; it is determined that while 1 unit energy is consumed in passenger transportation by railway, 3 units by highway, 5.2 units by air transport; in cargo transportation it is 1 unit by railway and 3 units by highway.
The comparison of Energy Consumption Rates according to various Transport Modes in Japan; the Passenger Traffic Transport modes, Traffic Volume (100 million passengers-km), Energy Consumption (10 billion kcal), the Energy Consumption Ratio (kcal/ passenger-km) Indices Numbers – Railways JNR Private Railways - Buses- Cars- Airplanes (Domestic) 3.125 (1.929) (1.286) 1.0343.607306 3.365(2.058) (1.307)1.54425.4321.727 104(106) 149705564 1-- Cargo Traffic Railways ( JNR ) Trucks Commercial (private Vessels ( domestic) 2711935(1.247)(688)2.007 40922.040( 7.386) ( 14.674)2.805 (kcal/ton-km)1511.139(591)(2.132)140 17.5(3.9)(14.1) 0.9

Source: TCDD (Turkish republic State Railways)- Efficiency in Railroads and Energy Savings

In this table, it is observed that, from the point of view of passenger transport; the railway and buses are efficient from the energy consumption aspect, and in cargo transport; the railway and marine vessel are efficient in energy consumption.


A Research Made by the International Civil Aviation Agency

a) Costs in the Transportation Systems

Transportation System Cost of Transport Scheduled Airplane ( cargo, passenger, post) Highway (cargo) Railway (cargo) Marine ( cargo) ton-km25.2852

Source: Marine Chamber of Commerce

As can be seen, the cost of transportation in average by the railway is 2.5 times, by highway is 4 times, and by airway is 12 times more expensive than the marine transportation.

b) The Cost of Mass Transportation

Type of Vehicle Unit cost (ton-mile) Truck (a) Train (b) Vessel (c) Airplane 166 Times 5 Times 1 Time 733 Times (a) 10 tons (b) with 500 tons load (c) 100.000 DWT

Source: Marine Chamber of Commerce

Upon the examination of the table, it is observed that the mass transportation made by vessel is much more economical compared to all the other transportation sub systems especially when compared to the airline and highway transports.

The Comparison of the Costs of Infrastructures

The initial cost of railway on plain terrain is 54% of the highway, on intermediately rough terrain on the other hand is 73.5% of the highway.

The requirement of the Land

According to a research; for the same capacity of transportation, the highway requires 2.7 % more land compared to the railway. According to a study of Prof.Dr. Ilyas YILMAZER, a highway with normal outbound and inbound lanes requires the use of 7 folds more land in comparison with the railway and a motorway requires 33 times more land than the railway.

The death risk per 1 billion passenger-km:
On railways is 17, on highways is 140. Accordingly, the highways are 8 times more risky than railroads with respect to death risk.

The risk of injury per 1 billion passenger-km:
On railways is 41, on highways is between 8500-10.000; accordingly, the highways are 207 to 244 times more risky than railroads with respect to risk of injury.

Green-House Gas Effect

The exhaust gas discharged from the land vehicles and automobiles to the atmosphere and containing the carbon monoxide gas, comprises an important portion of the green-house gases that are considered to be the major reason for the global temperature increase.
The share of the railways with regards to the affects on the air pollution is 5% whilst highways’ share is is 85%.

The Heavy Metal Effect on the Plants

The effects on the plants of the the heavy metals discharged from the vehicles in motion on the Adana-Icel highway (quantitatively) have been investigated.
While the envisaged limit value of heavy metals is to be 0.2 Mg/kg, It has been observed to be;

  • 1.85-2.17 mg/kg , on the plants at 5 meters distance to the highway
  • 1.8 – 1.23 mg/kg ,on the plants at 10 meters distance to the highway
  • 1.9-2.13 mg/kg, on the plants at 25 meters distance to the highway.

On the other hand, the economic life of the highway has been determined to be 15 years and of the railway to be 30 years.
According to a research made in the EU, it has been determined that the social (communal) cost of traffic jam, accidents, air pollution and the noise is at a level of 4% of the Union’s revenues, and ninety percent (90%) of this cost is arising from the highway transportation.




While all of the global countries (especially the developed countries) emphasize the importance of the railways and marine transport with regards to the energy conservation, neglecting the most efficient and economical marine transportation and railway transportation in our country despite of its three sides being surrounded by the seas, is one of the greatest sins committed towards our country and our people. When it is taken into the consideration that, 95% of the petroleum and petroleum products consumed in our country is being imported and around 40 % of the petroleum consumption in all the sectors is made by the highway transportation sector alone, and the loss of life, environmental pollution and social and economic costs created by the transportation system based on the highways, the importance and the necessity of emphasizing the railway, marine and mass transportation becomes more apparent.

Energy Efficiency in Transportation

About 20% of the energy consumed in Turkey is used in transportation sector. According to the data for the year 2005, this ratio was realized as 19.7% and thus transportation sector has taken the third place after industry and housing sectors. Besides, 99% of the energy utilized in this sector is comprised of petroleum products. Therefore, the transportation sector with this aspect is greatly dependent on abroad.

The energy problem in the transportation sector can be alleviated by long term solutions such as city planning, increasing the share of mass transportation. In order to attain the levels of mass transportation in the developed countries, the matter must be taken up as a whole.

  • About 1/3 of the road travelled by vehicles is for commuting to and from the work.
    Sharing your transport means with your colleagues in commuting for work will reduce the cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance both for you and for them.
  • For your travels instead of using your private car, prefer to use train, metro, bus, ship and other similar mass transport means. For short distances opt for walking.
  • For long waiting periods shut off your engine.
  • In order to minimize the fuel consumption and discharge of pollutants from the vehicles within the city areas, the vehicle speed must be between 35-95 km/hour. When the vehicle is driven at 115 km/hour instead of 95 km/hour, the fuel consumption is increased by 15%.
  • Do not use your vehicle at high revolutions and use the right gear stage suitable to the engine revolution. Do not give sudden full throttle to the engine when starting, driving and gear shifting.
  • With the increase in the mileage and age of the vehicle the fuel it will consumes and the pollutants emitted from its exhaust increases. A same model brand new car emits 30% less pollutants and consumes less fuel compared to a 5 years old one.
  • Keep the windows of your car closed or ajar enough to enable air circulation while driving. This will provide you considerable amount of fuel saving.
  • Use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer of your car. Do not over-fill your gas tank. This will lead to fuel leaks and evaporation losses.
  • Use engine oil suitable for the season and do not forget that oil filter is also required to be changed, when changing the engine oil. This is important both from the fuel savings and engine life points of view.
  • Get your car’s periodical service and adjustments done in due time. If not properly maintained, almost all of the mechanical systems in your car cause to increase fuel consumption.
  • Get the exhaust gas measurements of your car done periodically.
  • Clean the engine air filter at specific periods or get them changed.
  • In the vehicle efficiency the tire is an important factor and affects the fuel consumption by 5-10%. Pay attention that the tire pressure of your car is at the recommended levels. Insufficiently inflated tires will increase fuel consumption.
  • Use radial tires. These tires especially provide fuel savings in city and motorway driving and have longer life.