Increasing rail freight efficiency A European project looked at how to increase the efficiency of logistics systems in the Brenner Corridor – one of Europe's most loaded transit paths. The BRAVO consortium developed an information system for combined transport that is now on the market. Industrial Technologies © Shutterstock In 2002, representatives of the rail and transport sector adopted a plan to improve international rail freight in the Brenner Corridor between Munich and Verona. Like many other major transport routes, the corridor faces a number of challenges – rising demand, railway liberalisation, lack of efficiency in modal transport and increasing congestion. And although only 448\;km long, the corridor crosses the Alps and three different national railway systems, further adding to technical complexities and infrastructural bottlenecks. The EU-funded BRAVO project looked at innovations that could address the problems facing intermodal transport on the route, in particular the increased volume of freight traffic. Unaccompanied combined transport on the corridor increased by over 50\;% during BRAVO's three-year lifespan from 2003-2007. Meanwhile, an information system for combined transport developed by the project has already begun commercial operation (see www.kombiverkehr.de). In addition, Bravo demonstrated the viability of new technologies in a number of areas: sustainable and open corridor management; train path availability and allocation, interoperable rail traction, quality management systems, advanced customer information systems and unaccompanied combined transport services. Specific applications developed and demonstrated during the project included a radio-remote control pushing engine to help haul heavy trains up steep inclines; a trailer/wagon for suitable for combined transport with maximised volume for transporting road vehicles; an online train monitoring application; and an internet timetable for combined transport operations. The project can serve as a blueprint for other European transport corridors in their optimisation efforts and it also produced a quality manual which can provide further guidance.