Technology is the modern-day fuel of America’s freight rail network, helping create a world-class transportation system that moves the economy forward.

Thanks to steady, substantial spending on infrastructure, equipment and technology — $25 billion annually on average — America’s freight railroads move more freight more efficiently, safely and cleanly than ever before.

Today’s trains are powered by 200-ton locomotives equipped with supercomputers capable of processing a billion data points per second. Technology used throughout the 140,000-mile rail network — from smart sensors to big data and drones — ensure infrastructure and equipment remains safe. Specialized computer software improves rail operations, while green innovations such as anti-idling technology keep freight rail’s carbon footprint small.

Because of this massive spending and the technological innovation of smart rail teams throughout the nation:

  • The mainline train accident rate has fallen 10% since 2009.
  • Railroads moved one ton of freight an average of more than 470 miles per gallon of fuel in 2019, double the average in 1980.
  • Since 1980, rail traffic density increased about 200% with no significant increase in the size of the railroad network; locomotive productivity rose 93% and average freight carried per train rose 63%.

Ever-forward. Always moving. Freight rail’s investments in technology strengthen the network today while positioning the industry to deliver for the 21st century.