How to digitize rail freight and passenger rail transportation

The CEO of one of the worldwide leading rail transportation companies asked me for advice on how to digitize rail freight and passenger rail transportation

Digitization in rail transportation

1. Executive Summary

  • Digitization in rail freight and passenger rail transportation drives rail infrastructure and vehicle availability, infrastructure throughput and new passenger experience
  • Digital services such as predictive maintenance secure infrastructure and vehicle availability
  • Digital traffic management and distributed wayside infrastructure ensure infrastructure throughput
  • Vertical software/IT solutions provide new passenger experience
  • Digitization increases intermodality, e.g. rail, road, and public transportation

2. Digitization increases availability, throughput, and passenger experience

Digitization increases availability, throughput, and passenger experience

3. Digital services

Digitalization of maintenance ensures availability

Digital services secure infrastructure and vehicle availability

4. Digital traffic management

Extended operations control systems: Digitalized workflow and optimized infrastructure performance increase throughput

Digital traffic management ensures infrastructure throughput

Major challenges

  • Increased network throughput without additional infrastructure
  • Automation and digitization of knowledge processing
  • Minimized energy consumption
  • Traffic interoperability
  • Centralized and integrated traffic management

5. Vertical software/IT solutions

eTicketing creates new passenger experience

Technical set-up

  • Based on RFID, Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi technology in smartphone or smart card
  • eTicket automatically detected when passenger is inside a vehicle
  • Charging based on the route travelled
  • Prepaid and postpaid payment methods possible
  • Potential for intermodal use

Increased intermodality

  • Modular eTicketing system for seamless mobility access in cities — attractive and efficient for user and operator
  • Development of innovative be-in/be-out solutions (based on cards and mobile phones) supplements established check-in/check-out solutions
  • Together with integrated mobility platforms, complete offering for door-to-door trips

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