Specific challenge: Taking into account the expected growth in transport demand and the ever-increasing customer expectations on quality of service, there is a need for a step change in the productivity of the infrastructure assets. These assets will need to be managed in a more holistic and intelligent way, using lean operational practices and smart technologies that can ultimately contribute to improving the reliability and responsiveness of customer service and the whole economics of rail transportation.
Scope: The research and innovation activities should evolve within the following three complementary work streams:
Smart, cost-efficient, high-capacity, user-friendly rail infrastructure: proposals should aim at identifying relevant infrastructure-related challenges and developing solutions that result in reduced investment and recurring operational costs, improve the reliability and availability of rail operations and increase the attractiveness and usability for all passenger categories (including persons with reduced mobility), while also guaranteeing the respect of strict safety standards. Infrastructure requirements stemming from new solutions for smart rail services (see MG.2.2) should be properly taken into account.
I2M – Intelligent mobility management:proposals should focus on the development of intelligent, automated and flexible rail traffic dispatching systems, supporting an integrated approach to the optimisation of railway architecture and operational systems at network, route and individual train level (including interactions with switches). These should reconcile business and operational requirements (namely customer service, capacity, speed, timekeeping, energy, asset management) with real-time field and asset condition monitoring and intelligent traffic planning (including cross-border), to deliver normal or near-normal services during all but the most exceptional circumstances. Particular emphasis should be given to real-time data collection and analytics from trains and infrastructure for the purposes of goal-oriented predictive and adaptive control of the traffic and to minimise disturbances with a view to ensuring a minimum impact on services delivered. The interfaces and compatibility between the different rail modes (light/urban and mainline/inter-regional rail), as well as with other transport modes shall be guaranteed, including with regard to information systems. Full compatibility with European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) must be ensured.
Energy management: the work should address innovative approaches to improve the efficiency of energy usage in rail systems, embracing vehicles, infrastructure and operation within a whole-system perspective. This will imply notably the development of smart concepts in intelligent design and management of energy systems for rail applications which should be pursued from a whole-of-life perspective - from concept to implementation through the design, procurement, manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance phases.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 16 to 18 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Expected impact: Research and innovation activities are expected to result in an indicative surge in the utilisation of capacity within a range 70-90% as well as a reduction in the recurrent costs of rail operations within a range of 25-45%. Part of the lower operating costs will evolve from reductions in the power supply operational and maintenance costs (~25%), reductions in transmission and distribution losses (~20%) and increases in reliability of operation (~20%). This is to be considered, in parallel, with potential savings in investment costs for the delivery of major infrastructure projects and related systems through the adoption of lean design and implementation strategies (that may amount up to 30% of total costs).
Type of action: Research and Innovation Actions