Information published on 26 April 2016 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 495.

Railway sector joins forces to deploy digital technology

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The members of CER, CIT, EIM and UIC are strongly committed to digitalisation as one of the top priorities for the rail sector and its future. Today, these four railway associations are presenting a joint Roadmap for digital railways to promote the proper use of digital technology, which is essential to enhancing rail’s performance and increasing its attractiveness for customers.

Railways see digitalisation as an opportunity to maintain a strong market position in Europe. With this Roadmap, the sector commits to digital transformation by strengthening cooperation, both within the sector and with third parties, and by calling on the help of EU institutions to collectively deliver on the objective of making railways digital. This entails:

  • offering connected railways by providing reliable connectivity for safe, efficient and attractive railways;
  • enhancing customer experience by offering better and added value for customers;
  • increasing capacity by enhancing the reliability, efficiency and performance of railways;
  • boosting competitiveness by making the most of transport data.
  • Railways are fully engaged in the digital revolution and dedicated to contributing to the creation of a true Digital Single Market for Europe.

The Roadmap can be downloaded here: http://uic.org/com/IMG/pdf/a_roadmap_for_digital_railways.pdf

UIC Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux emphasised that “the principle challenge for the railway operating community is being able to determine, in a joined-up way, where the principle energies must be expended and which technological priorities will be most beneficial to developing the digital European railway system. It is vital that this involves a wide range of stakeholders, with our customers being first and foremost in the line-up. What the customer expects from their rail experience is crucial to the development of an attractive railway system. The UIC has developed its Digitalisation Platform for this express purpose and which will seek to identify best practice from right around the world so as to maximise the developmental opportunities for rail.”

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “Digitalisation offers major potential for
railways and for Europe’s economy. Railways are committed to working together and with other sectors in order to make the most of the opportunities offered by the digital transformation. It is essential that European institutions complement these initiatives by creating the corresponding policy environment.”

CIT Secretary General Cesare Brand said: "CIT together with its members is working on the implementation of the digital roadmap finalising the legal and functional specifications for the electronic consignment note. In parallel with that work, the CIT will further support RailData in its practical work to finalise the technical specifications as part of the e-RailFreight project. The use of the electronic consignment note alongside the various logistic chains will substantially contribute to improve the competitiveness of our member railways.”

EIM Executive Director Monika Heiming said: “Digitalisation will drive the railway’s agenda in the next years to come. The challenge will be to develop collaboratively joint visions for the future versus silo thinking in the past. Rail infrastructure managers will gain a lot from this collaborative approach. Innovation will help them boost their management, performance and deliverables in the interest of all.”