Standards are found in practically every area of our daily lives, but why are they so important to the railway sector?
The general benefits of standardisation are well known; they are very helpful in maintaining and indeed increasing levels of safety, rationalising system operations, guaranteeing a level of service quality, driving out risk, driving up efficiency and driving down cost.
A well-constructed business-led standardisation framework ensures that products, services and processes are appropriate for their intended use and user. It ensures that products and systems are compatible and interoperable. For the shared network, where various operators use the same infrastructure, standards are a key prerequisite for a safe and reliable operation.
All this is of course designed to facilitate the service to the customer in this intermodal world.
Taking into account all the points above and that rail is first and foremost a system, UIC has undertaken an internal review of the role that it performs in the design, construction and publication of cost effective standards for the railway sector.
This has led to the 200 members of UIC agreeing at the General Assembly held recently in Paris to the creation of a Standardisation Unit that will act as a ‘one stop shop’ for the development and publication of the IRSs that are now replacing the former leaflets. For more information, please watch this dedicated video produced by UIC to provide a fuller explanation about International Railway Solutions:
Under the direction of Simon Fletcher and supported by Head of Standards Programming, Célia Levy, the team will comprise of a number of Programme Coordinators who will cross-functionally support the system technical work undertaken by the UIC’s Forums and Platforms across all the technical (engineering) and business (operational) disciplines.
This year the team will be focussing on accelerating the IRS production process, supporting the implementation of innovation deliverables and developing a number of joint initiatives with a range of partners within and outside the traditional railway sector.