On 5 March the kick-off meeting of the Standardisation Platform will take place at UIC Headquarters. The creation of this Platform was proposed during the General Assembly in Philadelphia (July 2012) and confirmed at the last assembly (December 2012) as a logical consequence of the work and of the results of the Standardisation Working Group (SWG).
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, will welcome participating members at the opening of the meeting and will give an overview of the reasons, the task and the guidelines of this important and strategic tool related to UIC standardisation.
One reason for creating the Standardisation Platform is to take over from the SWG – having Stefano Guidi as Spokesperson and Gianfranco Cau as Secretary has produced an operative assessment and classification of the UIC Leaflets – to enlarge the geographical basis of participation (originally comprising five members from Europe, four members from Asia, one from the Middle East and external support from North America) to this transversal dossier at the specific request of several large railway operating companies.
Nevertheless, the fundamental point of the Platform is its transversal role of coordinating the leaflets and standards produced by other Forums and Platforms, as well as assessing these documents with a view of turning them into international railway standards. This programme of coordination is intended to create a better balance between the stakeholders and bodies concerned.
The broad participation and numerous interfaces linked to the Standardisation Platform are intentional in order to guarantee representativeness as well as a synergic and efficient approach. This entity’s mission thus consists of strategic aspects and the implementation of guidelines set out in the General Assembly, as well as actions to increase the value of UIC Leaflets and to define their evolution, and identify potential international railway standards and joint standards to be written together with other organisations through fostering proper contacts and agreements.
Mr Loubinoux always stressed in the preparatory meetings that the production of railway knowledge is a focal point in the role of UIC and it is necessary to continue to improve the performance and the efficiency of the railway transport system. Seen from another angle this also means that the economic drivers are essential in the individuation of standards to be produced or updated in order to have relevant added value.
Therefore Corridors, High Speed and Special Applications may become sub-categories of standard for which the corresponding Forums and Working Groups will continue to prepare the relevant leaflets or voluntary standards, having coordinated the work on the results and their usability.
The draft agenda prepared for 5 March includes other items such as the Terms of Reference, the status of agreements with ISO, IEC, CEN/CENELEC and an evaluation of the format of the UIC leaflets, to which many contributions are expected.
Mr Guidi also intends to explore some key points with the attendees related to standardisation such as meeting the needs of railway companies, compatibility with existing initiatives, interoperability and the induced and unnecessary cost of technologies.