Challenges and Opportunities


Operating safely is of utmost importance to our company. We oversee what essentially amounts to a 32,000-mile outdoor factory. Because of challenges associated with monitoring such a large area, we collaborate with other agencies to help ensure security. Also, last year across all United States railroads, 2,087 vehicle-train collisions occurred at highway-rail grade crossings.* Through education, infrastructure projects and enforcement of trespasser and grade crossing regulations, Union Pacific dedicates resources to changing the at-risk behavior of pedestrians, motorists and truck drivers on railroad property and at grade crossings.

Read more about our safety investments in this report’s Operating Safely section.

*Source: Federal Railroad Administration, Preliminary 2013 statistics

Fuel efficiency

Improving our fuel efficiency offers the greatest singular opportunity to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. As the mix of commodities we ship changes, improving fuel efficiency remains a challenge. We’re committed to exploring fuel-efficient technologies. In addition, we continue to evaluate alternative fuels for powering our locomotives. Though diesel is the most efficient and effective fuel to power the locomotives on our network, today, we anticipate a combination of fuels and technologies will power tomorrow’s railroad. We are once again working closely with locomotive and engine manufacturers,  and other suppliers to study the benefits of converting locomotive engines to liquefied natural gas fuel. Read more about these efforts in the Preserving the Environment section.

Employee diversity and retention

Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce is an ongoing priority for our company. Through focused recruiting programs for women and minorities, as well as improved training, we persistently strive to be the employer of choice. Read more in our Engaging Employees section.