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Translation for breaking language barriers in the railway field

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Translate4Rail (Translation for breaking language barriers in the railway field)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2020-11-30

The ambition of the Sector is to increase the modal share of rail freight in Europe from the current 18% to 30% by 2030 thus contributing to the Green Deal objectives. To reach this, action is needed to remove interoperability barriers. For the rail freight sector, driving a train through Europe should become as easy as driving a truck. One of the obstacles to overcome and achieve this goal is the removal of the language barrier in cross border operation. This is what the “Translate4Rail” (T4R) project addresses and this is how it will contribute towards enhanced competitiveness for the sector and simplified / seamless cross-border operation.
The concept of the T4R project is to offer drivers a fully comprehensive set of predefined standardised messages which encompass all they have to exchange with an IM traffic controller in normal or exceptional operational situations in a country where they do not understand nor speak the local language. These messages coupled with a prototype translation tool used via a tablet device should offer a solution to the stated problem without compromising security of operation. T4R is a S2R funded project which spans over two years. It is led by the International Union of Railways (UIC) and RailNetEurope (RNE).
Translate4Rail objectives for the reporting period M1-M12 were the following:
• a benchmark relevant initiatives from other industries and from the rail sector
• the elaboration of an enhanced list of standardised/pre-defined messages based on operational concepts allowing a communication between RU drivers and IM traffic controllers in all operational situations on cross border sections
• the definition of requirements for a digital solution to address the issue on hand and the production of a prototype tool
• first guidelines for implementation of the T4R concept in pilot testing
• safety is paramount and therefore a series of workshops was organised to develop a“European risk analysis” as per CSM 402/2013 so to identify all hazards and define corresponding mitigation solutions
• elaboration of a high impact plan for communication and dissemination activities as well as a Data Management Plan
• provide strong management so to ensure efficient coordination, drive common consortium activities including administration and financial aspects.
•The prototype of the language tool will demonstrate the possibilities of speech to speech communication in addition to speech to text.
•The project is proposing a sector solution to address in a pragmatic manner the lack of multilingual drivers for cross border traffic where different national languages are spoken and facilitating the development of cross border traffics.
•The T4R pilot is one of the frontrunners addressing aspects of the of the Train Driver Directive, offering alternatives to overcome language barriers in cross border traffic.
•The project will demonstrate by means of pilot testing how a driver can safely and efficiently communicate with the traffic controller from another country in a language in which he may have no proficiency.
•The tool laboratory testing already shows the ability to support the driver in communicating actively and effectively in routine, degraded and emergency situations, without a negative impact on safety.
•Safety is transversal in T4R and a safety by design approach is being followed in the various components of the project (prototype tool development, pilot testing etc).
•The removal of the language barrier will enable the rail freight sector to be more agile and lead to productivity enhancement by reducing the average time at border section.
•The impacts will be a better reliability of train travel by increasing in the number of drivers that are able to drive at border section with and without the tool, better use of existing network capacity, greater availability of the drivers forces and an increase of competitiveness. The attractiveness of rail transport will improve supported also by the expected transit time reduction highly appreciated by the clients.
•The capacity of the infrastructure network at border crossings will increase as trains are no longer obliged to stop at the last possible station to change drivers or to embark on a second one as the case may be.
•The operations will improve with the standardization of the messages exchanged clarifying the communications between drivers and traffic controllers. The result should equally be better competitiveness which can be reflected by the average time gained for training a driver to A2 level compared to training a driver to B1 level.
•The tool will enable to enlarge the geographical areas of work for the drivers. This will increase their motivation and bring more flexibility and productivity to RUs.
•The project will result in an increased capacity and reliability which will then result in improving sustainability of the transport market. Indeed, the shift to rail is the main way to combine growth and climate goals.
Translate4Rail Project Impact