Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - FOSTER RAIL (Future Of Surface Transport Research Rail)

Executive Summary:
The FOSTER-RAIL project was set up to support the activities of ERRAC – The European Rail Research and Advisory Council – which was initiated in 2001 aiming to help revitalise the European rail sector and make it more competitive, by fostering increased innovation in the rail sector and guiding research efforts at a European level (see The project has addressed the challenge to strengthen and support research and innovation cooperation strategies in the European rail sector and has enhanced the coordination among main stakeholders and actors in the European rail sector and rail industries and has integrated the work done so far by ERRAC and its working groups.

FOSTER-RAIL has developed the following main deliverables:

• Rail Business Scenarios as input to the new SRRIA and Roadmaps
• A Strategic Rail Research and Innovation Agenda (SRRIA)
• 10 new and updated research roadmaps – and an integrated document – based on the SRRIA’s outlook and vision
• Updated “Suburban and Regional Rail Market Analysis” report
• Recommendations to exploit standardisation potentials for mainline and urban rail
• Assessment of rail research projects mainly from relevant – EU funded – programmes
• Recommendations for the strengthening of the effectiveness of research and innovation capacities of the rail sector in Europe by analysing the market uptake of previous research projects

In addition FOSTER-RAIL has supported ERRAC and rail research by improving in a structured and multi-lateral way research cooperation within ERRAC and cooperation between FOSTER-RAIL partners and other transport-related stakeholders – ETPs, national railway technology platforms (NTPs) and other relevant decision making bodies – taking into account their specific research and innovation strategies.

FOSTER-RAIL has also provided recommendations for developing links and coordination strategies between EU/MS/AS technology platforms and as such has supported the organisation of TRA2014 Conference. Activities have also been carried out related to the creation of the interfaces between ERRAC and SHIFT²RAIL. These tasks have been part of WP5.

The output is meant to be used by the European Commission in developing their future Horizon 2020 Work Programmes and Calls and hopefully also will serve as input for the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking and their Annual Plans and Calls as well as to other transport related research and innovation programmes.

The FOSTER-RAIL project structure is based on 8 Work packages, the first 5 of which are strongly inter-related while WP6, WP7 and WP8 are mostly supportive:
• WP1 - Cooperation, Communication and Coordination with other ETPs and national technology platforms
• WP2 - Rail Business Scenarios
• WP3 - Strategic Rail Research and Innovation Agenda
• WP4 - Technology Roadmaps, Exploitation & Implementation
• WP5 - Fostering innovation and partnerships: ERRAC and SHIFT2Rail
• WP6 - Monitoring to improve rail research innovation
• WP7 – Dissemination
• WP8 - Administrative, financial and technical management and coordination

The FOSTER-RAIL list of partners reflects the membership of ERRAC which has brought a mix of competencies and experiences into the consortium – incorporating representatives of all European rail stakeholders and has ensured a suitable geographical coverage across Europe:





Project Context and Objectives:
WP1 - Cooperation, Communication and Coordination with other ETPs and national technology platforms

It has been the objective to establish proper channels for exchange of relevant information between ERRAC and the FOSTER-RAIL Work Packages and with FOSTER-ROAD and MESA-FOSTER WATERBORNE projects and the other Transport related ETP when they address subjects such as seamless and intelligent mobility, multi-modal research, freight transport and logistics, environmental and sustainability requirements and innovation areas in technological and socio economic domains of relevance to the transport sector as a whole and to the rail sector in particular. The aim was also to identify general transport issues relevant for the development of the Rail Business Scenarios (WP2) and to underpin relevant aspects of overall transport challenges, including environmental, safety and security and modal shift issues that will be addressed in the new Strategic Rail Research and Innovation Agenda (WP3). It was also important to assure new and stable communication channels with target platforms and relevant transport recipient agents for interaction and dissemination of FOSTER-RAIL results and activities on a European level (like for instance ETPs, ERA-NETs and the national levels). The project had to develop support activities contributing to the dissemination of results (as an input for WP7) including a participation in the thematic organisation of large transport events, such as TRA2014 conference.

WP2 - Rail Business Scenarios

The FOSTERRAIL WP2 objective was to deliver a reference rail business scenario for the European rail system up to 2050. To achieve this objective methodologically sound, a foresight approach was implemented. This approach allowed the reasoning about potential futures of the European rail system with a broad range of stakeholder and experts consultation considering varying social, economic and political developments.

The previous SRRAs produced by ERRAC were based on business scenarios targeting a time horizon for 2020. These scenarios have been produced in 2002 and 2007. They were partially outdated and they need to be revised, by taking also into account the new target date to be considered on the basis on the additional information available: 2050. The aim was therefore to define a rail business scenario for 2050. The preferred Railway Business Scenario was to be the reference for future research agendas (WP3) and roadmaps (WP4) to be developed in the timeframe from now on until 2050.

Another aim of WP2 was to update the previously (2006) developed ERRAC report the “Suburban and Regional Rail Market Analysis”.

WP3 - Strategic Rail Research and Innovation Agenda

The objective of WP3 was to develop a new Strategic Rail Research & Innovation Agenda – SRRIA – on the basis of the previous Strategic Rail Research Agenda – SRRA – issued by the European Rail Research Advisory Council – ERRAC – in 2007 as well as on the basis of the RailRoute 2050, the latest vision of the platform published in November 2012 ERRAC, taking into account the expected evolution of the European rail business to identify major challenges and research priority areas which will contribute most effectively to the achievement of a successful rail transport – attracting new customers and improving the cost effectiveness of rail freight and passenger transport, the reliability of the system and the capacity of the rail mode. This Work Package had to produce this SRRIA in line with existing transport ETPs research agendas and alliance strategies taking into account multi-modal research and innovations. The SRRIA should also build up on the rail business scenario developed in WP2 and the Transport White Paper published by the European Commission in 2011.
This newly developed Strategic Agenda should also take into account the innovation and market uptake aspects in the drafting of the vision and priorities. The implementation strategy for ERRAC’s research priorities of the new SRRIA should also be addressed and explained.

WP4 - Technology Roadmaps, Exploitation & Implementation

This work package had the aim to:
• Identify and characterize new paradigms for the overall rail system.
• Identify technologies for step changes and its relation with the potential for strong growth areas such as New Materials, ITS, communications.
• Identify gaps in the existing ERRAC Roadmaps.
• Deliver updated and upgraded technology and innovation roadmaps based on the SRRIA’s strategic alignment and by filling the gaps in the existing ERRAC Roadmaps.
• Summarise, cluster, prioritise and publish the sector’s R&D needs.
• Set up a platform to recommend and exploit standardisation potentials from European collaborative rail research projects.

The work should directly be based on the newly developed SRRIA (WP3) as well as on the previously developed 9 ERRAC Roadmaps as well as take into account the Rail Business Scenario work carried out in WP2. Gaps between the content of the previous ERRAC Roadmaps and the present day situation and needs should be analysed and covered within the new Roadmaps to be developed here.

WP5 - Fostering innovation and partnerships: ERRAC and SHIFT2Rail

Whilst this work package very much relied on the implementation of the proposed joint undertaking for research, development and innovation for rail (under the acronym: SHIFT²RAIL), it was anticipated that the core activity in this WP would mean a sensible step in ensuring that the rail sector is visualising the future technical requirements based on business needs for the development of the rail system.

Activities planned for this work package were to:
• Propose the necessary strategic and operational links between ERRAC and the SHIFT²RAIL initiative and identify the coordination requirements.
• Create/Manage under the ERRAC umbrella the so called “pre-system requirements and implementation groups” of SHIFT²RAIL to embrace the business needs for the entire sector.
• Analyse and ensure the synergies between the ERRAC research priorities and the SHIFT²RAIL research activities.
• Provide an effective tool and wide database for managing future partnership within SHIFT²RAIL projects.
• Consider the appropriate links not only between ETPs but also with other JUs/JTIs and PPPs.
• Provide the tools for proper internal and external communication on SHIFT²RAIL future activities proposed.
• Compare the S2R scope with the SRRIA objectives, in order to assess the existing gaps and the future needs of the rail sector after the S2R end.

WP6 - Monitoring to improve rail research innovation

The objectives of this WP were to:
• Monitor on-going rail projects to validate their progress towards the impacts promised in the proposal.
• Evaluation of finalised projects
• Manage of all relevant information concerning monitoring innovation aspects, achieved results, and review of all research projects and evaluations see to it that all are be brought together in a common database, open to stakeholders and roadmap producers.
• Organise workshops to disseminate the evaluation results, findings and recommendation in order to foster innovation aspects.
• Help identify, check and support proposals that clearly would fill a gap in the roadmaps and support the ERRAC strategy particularly for strategic proposals for the good of the sector.

WP7 – Dissemination

The objectives of this work package were to:
• Ensure the overall dissemination of activities and results towards the EU institutions, media and other interested stakeholders via appropriate communication channels.
• Develop and implement the project dissemination strategy.
• Establish and maintain a network of contacts with stakeholders, the EU decision makers and the media for dissemination.

WP8 - Administrative, financial and technical management and coordination

The objectives of this work package were to:
• Implement and maintain the administrative management structure of the project.
• Provide strategic, financial and contractual management of the consortium.
• To report to the European commission about the project’s progress and achievements.

Project Results:
WP1 - Cooperation, Communication & Coordination with other ETPs and National Technology Platforms

WP1 produced 4 Reports. The first report is specifically dedicated to the support of the rail stakeholders gathered in ERRAC in relationship with the other surface transport European Technology Platforms.

These surface transport European Technology Platforms (ETPs) – ERRAC, ERTRAC and WATERBORNE – have already developed roadmaps for European research, the most updated versions of which have been published on their websites in 2013. Moreover, ALICE ETP, recognized as such in July 2013, has delivered the research roadmaps for the Logistics sector later.

The three ETPs have each been granted in 2013 new Cooperation and Support Actions (CSA), namely FOSTER-RAIL, FOSTER-ROAD and MESA FOSTER-WATERBORNE for updating their work. In addition the ALICE CSA, WINN, started in October 2012. A particular feature of the four CSAs is that they all include a common set of tasks regarding ETPs Cooperation, Communication and Coordination.

The four ETPs met several times in face to face meetings or through conference calls to review the current structure and organization of each ETP, as well as the current status of their cooperation. They clustered topics of common interest and agreed upon – and started running – a set of coordinated actions. They identified potential participants for the joint works, which shall be completed regularly.

Due to the different timescales of the three projects, to the publication at the end of 2013 of the Research and Innovation Work Programme HORIZON 2020, and to the agreed planning of works, the ETPs decided that a delivery of their cooperation report by mid-2014 would be more appropriate. It had also been decided that the report – which had been renamed “Clustering multi-modal research and innovation issues between ETPs” – would be prepared jointly by the three ETPs, even though the overall presentation of the report might slightly differ for each CSA, since each CSA has its own template for deliverables. The FOSTER-RAIL deliverable D1.1 summarised the joint ETPs initiatives developed in the recent past or agreed for the very near future.

The second task within this work package produced 2 reports – a preliminary and a final version – on the topic of “Developing links and coordination strategies between ERRAC, EU and National Technology Platforms”. The first one described the state of the art, while the second one gave recommendations for reinforcing the links and coordination for the future.

The first (intermediate) report, D1.2, dealt with 2 different issues. On the one hand, it sought to identify the existence and organisation of a national equivalent to the European Technology Platform (ETP), e.g. a National Technology Platform (NTP) in one form or another. On the other hand, it attempted to map and analyse the European national transport policies, the national railway policies and, where possible, the national research priorities. The project results highlighted some clear patterns in national transport policies and research priorities as some common functioning features between the 8 NTPs which have been identified.

The final report, D1.4, has taken into account the state-of-the-art developed in D1.2, and has evaluated the ERRAC relationships with numerous stakeholders of railway research and innovation in the Member States and Associated States (MS/AS). It also has proposed recommendations to ERRAC and EC in order to create synergies with the identified research coordination bodies existing at national level in MS/AS to ensure the uptake of the FOSTER-RAIL project outcomes. This deliverable also describes ERRAC relations with TRIP (the Transport Research and Innovation Portal), the UIC Railway-Research Portal, the other ETPs, the relevant ERA-NETs and Joint Undertaking Shift2Rail – giving recommendations for an even more effective cooperation and information exchange. To deliver its conclusions in a clear and consistent manner, this D1.4 deliverable is divided into two parts.

The third task concerned the support for the TRA organization and its relevant meetings, as well as the support for WP7 in disseminating FOSTER RAIL at major rail events in Europe. A report was produced to present these activities.

WP2 - Rail Business Scenarios

WP2 has dealt with 2 different issues: on the one hand the development of several Rail Business Scenarios and determining the most probably scenario upon which to build the SRRIA and the Technology Roadmaps and on the other hand the update of the previously (2006) developed ERRAC report the “Suburban and Regional Rail Market Analysis”.

The Rail Business Scenarios
Aiming at defining a rail business reference scenario up to 2050 and beyond, socio-economic and European rail area future scenarios have been defined under a medium-and far-horizon perspective. Based on this a visionary scenario has been developed, reviewed and updated at half time of the FOSTER-RAIL project duration. Business scenarios are essential to align the road-mapping giving orientation what may be expected in a medium and far-horizon future.

D2.6 presents the second outline and update of the initial reference rail business scenario. To achieve an update of the initial reference scenario the reference rail business scenario was reframed and complemented by additional key aspects and storylines. The outcome of several other forward looking and scenario exercises related to the rail and transport sector including a range of documents of particular rail stakeholder groups were analysed and the outcome compared to the outcome of the initial business reference scenario.

Additional storylines and key aspects were introduced into the business reference scenario. In particular the normative starting point was reframed asking the question how a European rail system of the future should look like, when a strict climate regime is implemented in Europe and globally, what means the transport sector has to be nearly fully decarbonised till 2050 and beyond.

WP2 resulted in a rail business scenario that portrayed a socio-economic framework for the railways of the future. In a first step, generic European rail future scenarios against the background of a portfolio of 4 different framework future scenarios were outlined and presented. This presentation was guiding a Futures Dialogue Forum involving a broad range of stakeholder and experts. Jointly with them the scenarios were advanced, namely fleshed-up with additional storylines. Consistent stories were sketched out and agreed upon.

In a second step, informed by the portfolio of the generic framework future scenarios, the participating stakeholders and experts in the Futures Dialogue Forum were jointly developing and agreeing upon a preferred, but still in the eyes of the stakeholder and experts “reasonable and realistic” reference rail business scenario.

As an example, here is a summary of the main areas and concepts addressed by the reference scenario:

In the area ‘Technology’ we have addressed the following concepts:
• Hybrid, electric, lighter rolling stock with nearly-zero emission
• Automation of operations, unmanned terminals/stations, industrialisation of transport
• Technical innovations towards more energy and resource efficient as well as quieter railway systems
• More resilient infrastructure; less maintenance costs and innovative rehabilitation methods
• Integrated and harmonized services for ticketing, traveller information and guidance
• Multimodal (seamless) travelling/transport for passenger and freight, using the advantages of the rail wherever possible

In the area ‘Societal’ we have addressed the following concepts:
• Lifestyle changes, ageing of population and migration challenges: young people use more public transport, more innovative transport concepts
• Transport freight growth mostly shifted to rail; intermodal freight transport chains
• Accessible and frequent public transport not only in inner cities
• Major focus on training and education in railway

In the area ‘Policy’ we have addressed the following concepts:
• European Union as a federalist system based on a multilateral treaty or a constitution
• Policy authority regarding rail regulation and standardization fully at the European level for mainline rail
• Member states’ rail networks are interconnected and interoperable.
• Safety and security in transportation related to new technologies, e.g. internet
• R&I policies at EU level by then strongly driven to strengthen the European rail industries in competing with rail markets worldwide and to encourage shift2rail strategies

A detailed description of the major storylines of the updated rail business reference scenario as well as all the steps taken during the development of the preferred Rail Business Scenario can be found in the reports (project deliverables) of WP2 – which can be downloaded from deliverables.

The Rail Business Scenario was taken into account when drafting and agreeing upon the roadmaps in WP4 of FOSTER-RAIL.

The Regional and Suburban Rail Market Study
Then WP2 also produced an update of the work performed for the first time in 2005 is based on a survey and desk research and its objective was to get an accurate overview of the importance of regional railway in Europe. It provides a definition of Regional and Suburban Railways (RSR) and an in-depth picture of this business field based on data collected in 2014 and 2015. This study confirms the critical importance of regional and suburban railways in the EU, which account for 90% of total railway passengers and 50% of passenger-kilometres. Regional and suburban trains carry as much passengers as all metros in Europe and 10 times more passengers than air travel within the EU (based on 2014 Eurostat figures).

Another less-known attribute of the RSR segment (and of rail in general) is the fact that it provides a large number of local jobs which cannot be delocalized. The RSR study has shown that there are more than 360.000 jobs in train operating companies alone, and many more that are linked with the rail sector.

This overall market is nearly entirely governed by Public Service Obligation contracts between governments (mainly at infra-national level) and operators. The lion’s share of the service production is still in the hands of the large incumbent operators, even in countries where liberalisation is well advanced (Germany, Nordic countries, etc.). The only exceptions are UK and Poland.

This segment suffers from unbalanced competition with private car and has still a large potential for growth as leverage of sustainable land use and suburban/regional mobility policies. In addition, this study presents clear arguments as to why, instead of disregarding it or even allowing for its dismantlement, the European Union and national policy makers should provide this rail segment with the necessary investments and regulatory framework, as this is a vital source for regional and urban mobility, decongestion solutions, environmental action and economic competitiveness.

WP3 - Strategic Rail Research & Innovation Agenda (SRRIA)

It was the role of WP3 to update the previous ERRAC Strategic Rail Research Agenda as well as focus also explicitly on ‘Innovation”. Thus the Strategic Rail Research & Innovation Agenda – SRRIA – has been developed.

This new SRRIA specifically addresses the European efforts required for research and innovation to achieve the ambitious goal set out by the European Commission in the Transport White Paper published in 2011 where it is recognised that European Transport is at a cross roads, and that old challenges remain but new ones have come.

The following aspects have been considered while developing the SRRIA:
• Although transport accounts for about a quarter of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rail is responsible for significantly less than 1% of transport’s total share. Almost all the emissions arise from car use, aviation and shipping, which are almost completely dependent on fossil fuels.

• Transport, nevertheless, is recognised as being of key importance for both employment and economic growth. The Transport White Paper underlines the need to implement “new technologies” to ensure sustainable mobility.

• The European Commission is committed to a “Europe 2020” strategy based on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth but also concerned about the environmental, security, social and economic implications of current patterns of energy usage. It wants to find ways of decoupling economic growth from resource and energy use. It also wants to see a shift to a resource-efficient, low carbon economy avoiding transport pollution and congestion to grow. This calls for a massive technological improvement and a radical systemic change. Rail is seen as being a main part of the solution.

• Among the ten high level goals for a competitive and resource-efficient transport system, nine imply significant development of rail infrastructure, services and technologies.

• Overall transport activity is expected to grow substantially by 2050, with freight volumes increasing by more than 80% and passenger volumes by more than 50%.

Research and innovation can bring ground-breaking solutions to most of these objectives and challenges. ERRAC is involved in defining the Research and Innovation strategy of the rail sector in Europe, supporting and enhancing cooperation among European stakeholders as well as creating links with other sector stakeholders and decision-makers (at European, national and regional levels).

Building on the 2007 Strategic Rail Research Agenda (SRRA) and following the publication of “RAILROUTE 2050”, this updated Strategic Rail Research Agenda, the SRRIA, aims at orienting and guiding the research efforts of the railway sector and the decisions of policy makers and other stakeholders.

Increasing the attractiveness of a high capacity, environmentally friendly and cost efficient railway in Europe will underpin economic growth and societal development.

The SRRIA sets out research and innovation priorities structured around ten themes. The first theme addresses the attractiveness of rail and public transport and the future demand that the rail sector aims to meet. The second set includes three critical themes within a sector-wide – rail system – approach and finally the third set covers five well-established asset-related themes:

1. Attractiveness of rail and public transport
- Customer experience
- Strategy and economics
2. A whole system approach
- Capacity, performance and competitiveness
- Energy and environment
- Safety (including certification) and security
3. Assets
- Control, command, communication and signalling
- Infrastructure
- Rolling stock
- IT and other enabling technologies
- Training and education

These 3 themes and its 10 areas formed the basis for the activities and results of WP4, the 10 Roadmaps for Technology & Innovation.

WP4 – Technology and Innovation Roadmaps, Exploitation & Implementation

The activities in WP4 have been built directly on the new SRRIA and have incorporated the content of the previously developed ERRA Technology Roadmaps, has analysed the gaps between these Roadmaps and the present state of affairs, recent and expected changes as well as the results of the work in the other work packages, and especially the WP2 work in developing Rail Business Scenarios. It has also taken into account the results of past and ongoing research projects and the related input from the work carried out in WP6.

The Work Package 4 has developed the following reports:
• 2 Reports summarizing the Prioritisation & Recommendations of the sector’s R&D needs & priorities
• An overview of the standardisation potentials and recommendations for Standardisation for Mainline Rail
• An overview of the standardisation potentials and recommendations for Standardisation for Urban Rail
• A common template for the 10 Technology and Innovation Roadmaps
• A draft of the Technology and Innovation Roadmaps as well as the separate 10 Final Technology and Innovation Roadmaps as well as an integrated Roadmap document and printed brochure

After finalization of these 10 Roadmaps in the 10 areas as indicated and described within the new SRRIA, an additional document has been produced summarizing and integrating the priorities of these 10 Roadmaps.
Following the recommendation coming from WP1, indicating the need for a better coordination and cooperation between the ERRAC – European – level and the national and regional levels in the Member States and Associated and Candidate States, the Integrated Roadmap brochure has been translated into the languages of East and South-Eastern Europe, in the following languages: Polish, Czech, Serbian, Bulgarian and Rumanian in order to facilitate the access of these regions to the work of ERRAC and increase the implementation of the project’s work.

The following text provides a short introduction and summary of the content of the 10 Technology & Innovation Roadmaps:

“In support of European Union action to provide sustainable solutions to the current economic problems and to address the challenges of tomorrow, the ERRAC believes that research and innovation will enable the European rail sector to retain its excellence and increase its global competitiveness.

Rail is now a knowledge-intensive and internationally competitive sector, striving to create an optimal eco-system for innovation. It pulls together (from across the continent) excellent research institutions and a well-performing manufacturing industry, with a strong and increasing dedication to research, development and innovation.

This new Strategic Rail Research and Innovation Agenda (SRRIA) is well placed to guide and inspire future research and innovation over the coming decades.

The SRRIA sets out research and innovation priorities on a thematic basis, focusing on the attractiveness of passenger and freight rail transport, the sector-wide framework and the management of its assets.

The strategy puts the customer first, prioritising its needs and satisfactions. The focus is on the journey experience, including the train and station environment, comfort, access, and value for money, taking account of feedback received.

• The customer orientation is part of a wider view of the role of technology, including digitalisation, to address strategic and economic objectives for the sector, which also includes helping the supply industry to bring its products and services to market faster and more efficiently, and for the operating community to provide reliable transport of passengers and goods.

• New safety and security challenges, including from cyber attack, will be addressed without compromising the end to end journey through the whole transport network.

• To meet the ambition that the railway in Europe should make a bigger contribution to the economy and society, it shall improve its capacity, performance and competitiveness.

• The railway is already the greenest form of mass land transport. To increase its energy efficiency and further reduce its impact on the environment, contributing to efforts to counter climate change, it will seek to: further electrify rail operations, develop hybrid propulsion solutions incorporating energy storage systems to give increased operational range and flexibility and reduced dependence on diesel design lighter trains using mechatronic systems and lighter materials, develop smart grids for energy management and introduce new noise reduction technologies.

• Creating new and maintaining existing infrastructure is the largest investment – and cost – for the European railway sector. It is important that technology and innovation deliver opportunities to reduce the cost associated with infrastructure while at the same time increasing its availability and the ability to meet service demand.

• The capability and comfort of rolling stock is probably the largest factor associated with the mainline customer’s experience; passengers look for ease of access, comfortable and plentiful seating in a pleasant service driven environment. Freight operators require cost effective capacity, easy handling of freight on and off trains, plus fast transit between terminals. Technical innovation will target cost reduction through mass optimisation, balancing the need for vehicle strength and robustness in mass efficient manners, innovative power generation and drive systems (e.g. hydrogen powered) or on board electrical generation, semi-conductors and energy efficiency for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

• Improving the passenger and freight end-to-end journey experience requires a step change in the speed, efficiency, quality and exploitation of data and information by European railways and increased inter-modal cooperation. Central to the IT enhancement of the railway is the foreseen Connected Train – featuring data exchange for operational, engineering and customer service purposes.

• The railway requires a sustained supply of high quality, trained and skilled human resources across a range of disciplines, even as technology is changing the balance of the requirement. Measures to meet this need include the higher education offer, advanced training courses, the European Railway University and a harmonized Transport Doctorate.

These roadmaps set out a challenging agenda for rail research and innovation in the rail sector in the coming years and decades. Some of it is already in hand or planned though the so-called Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking and other initiatives. Other parts are aspirational, yet realistic. If the railways of Europe and their partners in industry and academia can deliver on these challenges, the future of the sector is very bright, with great benefit to all who use and work in the railway”.

The 10 Roadmaps each contain a chapter on the implementation of the priorities as described in these Roadmaps. The implementation will be developed and described within the context of WP3, Task 3.3 of the EC funded SETRIS project. This activity will start directly following the finalisation of the FOSTER-RAIL project.

WP5 – Fostering Innovation and Partnerships: ERRAC & Shift2Rail

This Work Package has heavily relied on the implementation of the proposed joint undertaking for research, development and innovation for rail (under the acronym: Shift2Rail).

This Work Package launched several activities:

1. One of the activities was to propose the necessary strategic and operational links between ERRAC and the Shift2Rail initiative and identify the coordination requirements. At the time of the Foster Rail proposal establishment, it was foreseen that Shift2Rail would have been structured in a short time, allowing ERRAC with its newly created “ERRAC Strategy Board” to match and provide direct support in the shaping of the Shift2Rail structure. However, the Shift2Rail Regulation adopted on July 2014 does not foresee the same number of committees as the ones identified initially in the Foster Rail proposal. And it provides a clear role to ERRAC directly in the operation phase rather than in the setting up phase – where the European Commission remains responsible. Nevertheless, the WP5 monitored the set-up of Shift2Rail and informed the ERRAC stakeholders. First ERRAC officially endorsed Shift2Rail on 15 November 2013. Then the ERRAC Strategy Board was informed about the progress of Shift2Rail. Two ERRAC Permanent Advisory Groups (Academia and Member States) have been established and kept informed about Shift2Rail status. Last but not least one single pre-requirement group was set up and integrated within the preparatory phase of Shift2Rail in order to try to boost the inputs from the interested parties.

2. A second activity was to provide the framework under which the creation of “system pre-requirements groups” for each Shift2Rail Innovation Programme can be established and to seek to ascertain the business-led needs of the wider rail sector in order to identify the core requirements that each of the Innovation Programmes will be required to develop. A framework has been set up for the creation of “system pre-requirements groups” for each S2R Innovation Program. These groups will support the move towards creation of a single European rail area.

3. A further activity was to create a database for potential partners to the Shift2Rail Innovation Packages and to support the identification of possible new Shift2Rail Associated members.

4. Finally WP5 has prepared a report, comparing the FOSTER RAIL SRRIA and the Shift2Rail Multi Annual Action Plan – MAAP – in order to advise the European Commission which important areas should be covered better within the future Work Programmes for EC funded research.

WP6 – Monitoring to improve Rail Research Innovation

An important part of the FOSTER-RAIL project is the monitoring of rail research activity. Previously, the rail sector did not know the market impact of previous research well enough and a great deal of research funding has been wasted on research that has had no demonstrable impact.

In order to improve the situation, an evaluation methodology based on the previous analysis of project results and deliverables has been used, together with a set of interviews of project participants and other stakeholders, aimed at determining the actual implementation and market uptake of the project results by the rail sector once the work has ended. Once an evaluation is done, the impact is visible and the results can be used by follow-on projects and taken into account in future research. The recording and analysis of past research also helps to improve the effectiveness of the ERRAC FOSTER-RAIL roadmaps by preventing duplication of previous research and identifying the gaps in future research.

As a result of the evaluation related to the key questions, the market uptake is determined and the presentation is completed in the final slides with the evaluation’s conclusions, in particular focussing on the Reasons for Outcome and Lessons Learnt.

The evaluation activity in FOSTER-RAIL project has built on the previous work of the ERRAC-ROADMAP project’s Evaluation Working Group and has continued and further developed its ground-breaking work.

The development and administration of the ERRAC rail research database has been another important activity within WP6, essential to support the evaluation of past research and achieve its main objectives.
WP6 has undertaken 34 project evaluations and completed over 20 evaluations. The completed evaluations have added to the previous EWG evaluations, meaning that over 80 projects have been evaluated by ERRAC since 2006.

Meantime, considering the lessons learnt from previous project evaluations, the FOSTER-RAIL project has monitored relevant ongoing projects and developed significant case studies. The monitoring methodology is based on the analysis of relevant ongoing rail research projects with respect to foreseen implementation and exploitation of results, according to initial objectives and contracted research work. A questionnaire was developed to facilitate the discussions with the project coordinators and better clarify all aspects relating to implementation and market uptake.

The project has also developed guidelines to provide European rail stakeholders involved in research and innovation activities at National and European level, with the information needed to ensure strong market uptake of their projects. This work has already resulted in improvement in the impact of the more recently evaluated European research projects.

The documentation is publicly available - the detailed reports can be downloaded from the website.

WP7 – Dissemination

WP7 developed a dissemination strategy, 2 websites ERRAC/FOSTER-RAIL and SHIFT2RAIL, a stakeholder database, a mid-term event, several press releases and press articles and the SRRIA was published as well as dissemination materials. A number of workshops were organised in the framework of the SRRIA. An Integrated Roadmap Brochure has been developed and issued as printed document – accompanied by a translated version in 5 East European languages which is available on-line through the Foster-Rail website. Finally, an information filled interactive final conference has been organised.

Potential Impact:
The FOSTER-RAIL project will prove to be vital to the development and innovation of the European Rail system for the European economy and the well-being of its citizens. As in ERRAC, all major rail stakeholders are gathered, the project’s main deliverables indicate the direction of the development needed for the rail system in order for rail to fulfil its envisaged future role of being the backbone of the European transportation system.

The main impact of this project will be that all rail stakeholders will work more closely together in designing and implementing the railway system of the future, working on the basis of a commonly developed vision for 2050, using a commonly developed agenda (the new SRRIA) and the newly developed high quality roadmaps to implement this agenda and coordination the efforts at several levels of governance (European and national level) and cooperating with, learning from and jointly developing with the other modes of transport. Greater focus will be given to the exploitation of the potentials for standardisation in main rail as well as in the urban rail area, leading to a better cost efficiency and a higher degree of inter-operability.

Besides the improved coordination and coordination between the different levels of governance (European and national level) the activities carried out through this project – especially but not only within Work package 1 - will certainly also have a positive impact on the cooperation and coordination with the other modes of transport. One of the main aims of the newly developed SRRIA is to serve the needs of the customers. Better linkage between the modes will certainly enhance this.

On the operational level, the project’s output will also serve as the input to future European transport policy and legislation as well as to H2020 annual work programmes as well as input to the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking and its follow-up activities.

Only through close cooperation between all the rail stakeholders on all levels of governance and in good cooperation and coordination with the other modes of transport the full potential as described in ERRAC’s Vision can be realised when implementing commonly developed and agreed rail research & innovation roadmaps, based on this vision and the innovative but realistic SRRIA.

List of Websites:
Project public website address:

Contact Details:

Mr. Dennis SCHUT (UIC FOSTER RAIL Project Coordinator)
Research & Innovation Manager
Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer
Tel: +32 (0)2 213 08 32

Related information


Aline WEGO, (Head of External Funding Unit)
Tel.: +33144492064


Record Number: 189853 / Last updated on: 2016-10-07