As we look to the future, BNSF will keep partnering with our customers and communities to become ever more sustainable while remaining focused on safety and moving our economy forward.
At BNSF Railway, we are proud of the role we play in the economy and in our nation’s supply chain. Every day we move goods and materials long distances safely and efficiently across our country that help drive our economy. That efficiency comes from operating a vast steel wheel-on-steel rail transportation network that combines high capacity with low resistance giving us significant economies of scale. It means we can move finished goods and raw materials more than three times more efficiently than over-the-road options. And while we enjoy inherent efficiencies and environmental benefits, we also believe it is good business and good citizenship to further minimize our impact on the environment and promote sustainability.
For example, we have the newest and cleanest locomotive fleet in North America, with roughly 40 percent of our locomotives purchased as new in the past 10 years. This has contributed to an approximate 12 percent efficiency improvement in that same period.
In addition to their efficiency benefits, our trains also relieve urban traffic congestion and reduce emissions. A single freight train can replace several hundred long-haul trucks, freeing up space on our nation’s highway system while reducing the wear and tear on our roads. Last year BNSF customers reduced their collective carbon footprint by almost 34 million metric tons, equal to removing the emissions produced by more than 7 million vehicles in a year. Also in the past 10 years, BNSF has cut average locomotive particulate matter emissions nearly in half. This is why environmental organizations, our transportation logistics partners, scholars and government planning organizations recommend increasing the use of rail.
In 2016, we transported nearly 10 million units of freight that make up the necessities of everyday life. These shipments help feed, clothe, supply and power our homes and businesses. As we look to the future, BNSF will keep partnering with our customers and communities to become ever more sustainable while remaining focused on safety and moving our economy forward.
We continue to make progress towards more sustainable operations. Last year we issued our third Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report, which discusses impacts of our operations, the progress we have made to move freight in a more environmentally and socially responsible way, and the efforts we are making in communities across our network to be a good citizen where we operate. The report can be viewed electronically at www.bnsf.com/corporateresponsibility.