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Optimal Strategy to Innovate and Reduce energy consumption In urban rail Systems

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Researchers improve rail efficiency

A cohort of European researchers has created a computer tool to improve energy efficiency in urban rail networks, leading to more sustainable public transport.

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The energy consumption of urban rail systems is determined by a range of interdependent factors, which makes introducing new, energy-efficient technologies difficult. There is a need for a simplified approach to making rail systems more energetically sustainable. The EU-funded OSIRIS (Optimal strategy to innovate and reduce energy consumption in urban rail systems) project took a holistic approach to reducing urban rail energy consumption by examining the efficiency of vehicles, infrastructure and operation. The ultimate aim was centred on being able to reduce energy consumption by 10 % by the year 2020. Researchers first assessed the main environmental, political and social requirements of energy efficiency in urban rail systems for different involved parties. Next, OSIRIS compiled a database of energy consumption at each point within urban rail networks. Another database composed of widely accepted efficiency requirements was used to standardise the energy optimisation and improve modelling. Project partners tested three technological innovations for engines, all of which boasted improved energy performance. The cohort also created a list of operational changes that require no technology to implement, which holds promise for further energy savings. Finally, OSIRIS incorporated all of their research into decision support software for rail engineers and others involved in urban rail management. Useful project outcomes include common key performance indicators and technical recommendations. These will help rail networks reach energy efficiency targets and lead to more sustainable public rail systems in Europe.


Energy efficiency, urban rail, public transport, energy consumption, rail systems

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