2017 Integrated Report – Departure into a new era

Air quality control

Reduction of pollutant emissions

DB Groupʼs combustion-related pollutant emissions are largely influenced by our ocean and air freight activities – for example, in the case of soot particles, these activities contribute more than 81%. Unlike greenhouse gases, air pollutants have the greatest effect locally. For this reason, we concentrate on specific measures to reduce emissions of pollutants from rail and road traffic, especially the continuous improvement of our own vehicle fleet. By using modern vehicles, we are continually generating less nitric oxide and particle emissions. The high electrification rate of our rail network plays a major role here because the vehicles themselves do not produce local pollutant emissions; the generation of traction current only causes decentralized emissions in power plants.

In the area of vehicles with combustion engines, we focus particularly on diesel vehicles, as their soot particles have been classified as a health hazard, and operators of such vehicles have a special responsibility toward local residents, customers and employees. We have therefore set ourselves the objective of reducing the particulate emissions of our own rail and road vehicles by 55% by 2020 compared to 2010. By 2017, we had already achieved a reduction of 44.5% (previous year: 42.2%). The calculation is based on the energy consumption and composition of our fleets by pollutant categories. The construction machinery regulation will be fully implemented by the middle of 2018. This stipulates that all urban construction sites will only use vehicles and construction machinery No. 11 that reduce emissions by 90%.

Online, we have provided comprehensive tables on the emissions of airborne pollutants from the individual means of transport as well as a detailed list describing pollutant classes.

Additional information

Absolute airborne pollutants from
journeys and transports




Particulate emissions




Nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions




Sulfur dioxide (SO₂) emissions




Hydrocarbon (NMHC) emissions




Combustion-related, well-to-wheel (WTW), scope 1 – 3.

Our vehicles comply with stringent emissions standards

Our rail and road vehicles meet high Euro standards and thus ensure a lower level of pollutant emissions:

  • 99% of the long-range trucks in use have the highest Euro
    standards V and VI (previous year: 93%).
  • Our entire car fleet meets Euro 5 and 6 emissions standards.
  • 20% (previous year: 21%) of the rail vehicle fleet still has the lowest pollutant level UIC 0. As a result, the share of rolling stock with low-­pollutant electro-traction rose slightly to 59% (previous year: 58%).
  • The share of our buses meeting the Euro V and VI standards increased to 63% (previous year: 55%).

New refueling facilities help to reduce nitrogen oxide

With new refueling facilities, DB Netze Energy offers AdBlue® fuel at gas stations for rolling stock. This is a urea-containing liquid for exhaust treatment in diesel engines; its use reduces the emissions of nitric oxide by up to 90%. By the end of 2017, DB Netze Energy had commissioned 18 AdBlue® gas stations No. 64. The number of gas stations is to be further increased.