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Aviation and railway are integral parts of the intermodal transport ecosystem expected to optimise door-to-door (D2D) mobility for people, and ultimately to meet citizens’ expectations for increasingly seamless mobility, where they can rely on the predictability of every planned door-to-door journey and can choose how to optimise it (shortest travel time, least cost, minimal environmental impact, etc.).

To successfully address the expected outcomes, and improve the attractiveness of combined air-rail travel for passengers, in a door-to-door context, the following research elements shall be delivered:

  • Benchmark on existing solutions of integrated rail and air traffic;
  • Integration of aviation and railway transport modes. Development of tools, digital platforms and services for a better integration of aviation and railway transport modes, as part of an intermodal transport ecosystem expected to optimise multimodal mobility. This shall include:
    • Definition of single, common and collaboratively-agreed intermodal (airport / railway) operations plan. The objective is to deliver a shared airport/railway operations plan including agreed performance indicators and objectives e.g. punctuality, and building on information from different players and stakeholders from the two modes of transportation. The connection to the Network Operations Plan (NOP) is expected to be done via the (Airport Operations Plan) AOP (airport part of the intermodality plan). The intermodal operation may include optimised timetables, luggage handling and passenger information, etc.;
    • Definition of the interface between the air traffic management systems (ATMS) (in particular regarding airport-rail connection) and the rail traffic management systems (TMS), both for planning purposes and operations, including disruptions;
    • Real-time information exchange services between aviation and railway giving stakeholders (including mobility providers) an increased knowledge of the multimodal journey and mobility providers the means to adapt and optimise traffic offers in the short term. This includes the elaboration of rationalised data-driven ATM/railway dashboards enabling stakeholders to have an up to date picture of the actual situation in both transport modes. These dashboards could be fed with key performance aviation and train indicators covering inter-modal management processes. These dashboards could also include predictive functionalities enabling stakeholders to proactively identify demand and capacity imbalances (location, duration, criticality, etc.), deviations compared to the shared plan, etc. This will enhance the reliability of multimodal journey planning, identifying as soon as possible potential access issues that could affect the punctuality of operations, and trigger the need for potential coordinated actions for alleviating congestion, mitigating regulatory constraints, optimising process, passengers journey management, etc.
    • ATM-airport-railway collaborative decision making process. This enables collaborative decision-making involving both air transport and railway transport stakeholders with the aim of facilitating a more efficient strategic and tactical planning and management of intermodal operations, passenger flows and enhancing passenger experience between the two modes of transportation. This research element covers:
      • The evolution of ATM related concepts developed within ATM boundaries e.g. airport operations plan (AOP), airport operations centre (APOC), airport collaborative decision making (A-CDM), total airport management (TAM), network operations plan (NOP), etc.;
      • The integration of data from aviation and railway transport information systems;
      • The development of an integrated capacity management process to ensure modal shift from feeder flights to railway;
      • The development of visualisation and decision support tools to allow the involved stakeholders to perform “what-if”, “what-else” analyses and assess the impact of different decisions / scenarios in order to determine the optimal course of action (this could make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques).

Research may also address:

    • Post-operations analysis capabilities to allow both air and railway transport stakeholders to better plan operations and resources in the future aiming at a continuous improvement of intermodal operations;
    • Use of AI/ML to support the optimisation of the ATM-rail multimodal interface developing smart digital solutions to streamline the management of multimodal air-rail transport flows (e.g. AI/ML-powered demand-driven predictions of flights, trains, passengers and departure/arrival queues/sequences for improving operations efficiency and for service offer across air-rail modes accommodating as much door-to-door journeys as possible, etc.);
    • Business intelligence and machine learning to help intermodal stakeholders collaboration to align process and resource capacity with predicted demand to reduce queues.

(R&I need: An integrated transport network performance cockpit (from ATM SRIA))

  • An integrated aviation-railway transport network disruption and crisis management process. Enable the coordination – when managing disruption and crisis – between air and railway transport modes and a multitude of actors, including local and national authorities’ representatives. Research shall address the definition of the required data exchange for a situation of disruptions and crisis. The research should also lead to proposals for mitigation measures based on the timely acquisition and sharing of information, as well as it should consider a broad set of threats affecting, directly or indirectly, the intermodal system e.g. terrorism, volcanic ash dispersions, hazardous chemicals events, spread of diseases/pandemic, earthquakes, flooding, major failure of a pan-European function, (massive) cyberattack, etc. The proposal may include simulation scenarios to validate applicable use cases e.g. airport closure, rail strike, etc. (R&I needs: an integrated transport network crisis management process (from ATM SRIA) and incident and disruption management (from Rail strategic SRIA)

Additionally, the project to be funded under this topic shall:

  • Target maturity level is TRL6 and validation activities should be defined accordingly. In particular, activities including system, subsystems model/prototypes in a relevant end-to-end environment;
  • Propose a concept of operations (ConOPs) and high-level architecture of the proposed solution(s), further detail them into operational scenarios / use cases, leading to the definition and validation of requirements/specifications for data exchange, also in real-time, related to available capacity, disruptions, etc., and consequent respective airport operations - ATM – rail networks integration. Include a CBA for the proposed solutions ;
  • Consider the following potential scenarios:
    • City pairs from different EU Member States, which have both airports and high-speed train connections;
    • International airport hub connected to a high-speed railway station. This scenario may also consider other transport modes serving and/or connecting both the airport and railway station if applicable e.g. local / regional train operators, local bus lines, trams, metros, taxis etc.;
    • Regional rail line serving a smaller (regional) airport. This may also consider as well other transport modes.
  • Consider standards whenever possible, especially important with data sharing, integration of different transport modes, combination of ATMS and TMS and creation of new tools;
  • Take into consideration the following reference material:
    • The interfaces definition should consider:
    • The EU Data Strategy which aims to create a Common European Mobility Data Space[[]]. Please consider also the existing work of EU-Rail (Flagship Project 1 – MOTIONAL[[]] Federated Data Spaces) for building a trusted, reliable, cybersecure federated data space for the rail ecosystem - the Rail Data Space. The Rail Data Space provides exchange and sharing of digital resources across Rail operators, Infrastructure Managers and Suppliers as a component in the creation of a Common European Mobility Data Space. It is compliant with the principles of the European Strategy for Data, e.g. Data Sovereignty, Data level playing field, public-private Governance and Decentralized soft infrastructure. Furthermore, it is interoperable with other sectorial data spaces;
    • State-of-the-art documentation on existing solutions on integrated rail and air traffic.
  • Involve relevant stakeholders from at least two EU Member States:
    • From the air sector perspective the proposals should foresee participation of, at least, airspace users (AUs) and airport operators;
    • From the rail sector perspective the proposals should foresee participation of, at least, High speed train operators, infrastructure managers and TMS operators, as well as regional/capillary line operators and TMS operators;
    • Research may include (if required) other stakeholders e.g. urban transport operators (metro, bus, etc.);
    • The inclusion of other modes of transport (e.g. UAM, cooperative, connected and automated mobility (CCAM), etc.) will be considered advantageous, in order to provide a full door-to-door experience validation.
  • Take into consideration the existing work developed within SESAR and EU-Rail (especially IP4 projects[[]] Flagship Project 1 ) in terms of state-of-the-art of existing solutions, tools, algorithms and approaches (e.g. passenger flow, predictions and traffic modelling, total airport management concept, etc.);
  • Address data confidentiality e.g. GDPR aspects, as well as the approach on data sharing (including dataspaces tackled within EU-Rail project FP1-MOTIONAL);
  • Address (cyber)security and safety aspects of the proposed architecture in close collaboration with the System Pillar. Also, the availability and integration of external services able to supply data and information to the air and rail network management systems to improve air-rail intermodality shall be investigated;
  • Target a balanced participation of entities from both the rail and aviation sector. The contribution brought by those entities is also expected to be insofar as possible balanced between the rail and aviation stakeholders. The applicants can justify a different approach for the correct implementation of the action.

A joint execution framework is currently under development between SESAR 3 JU and Europe’s Rail JU. This common framework will provide more details on aspects related to the implementation of the proposal retained for funding, once the Grant Agreement is signed. It will be made available in the Question & Answers (Q&A) during the call for proposals submission period.

Interactions with other EU-RAIL and SESAR projects and EU-Missions

The action to be funded under this topic shall:

  • Take into account the state of play on multimodality, either completed or ongoing (under Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe programmes or beyond) activities that already tackle some of the aspects under this topic.
  • Collaborate with linked projects EU-RAIL Flagship Areas 1[[]] and 6[[]] and work together for any potential interfaces.
  • Collaborate and integrate the EU-Rail System Pillar[[]] outputs related to concept of operations, Data Model, the Architecture and the interface with rail Traffic Management Systems.

Gender dimension

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.