Smart Thinking Railways
Smart thinking and innovative technology can future-proof our railways.
13:15 08 October 2018
According to figures released by the Office of Rail and Road, there were 1.7 billion journeys made last year, which is almost a 100per cent increase or double the annual total in the mid 1990s. This continued growth requires transforming the capacity and efficiency of our network to provide greater capacity, improved reliability and better value for both passengers and taxpayers.
Investing in digital signaling and train control technology and full automation can help us realise this goal. Fully automation technology is well established in metro networks, where dependable technology already underpins safe, frequent and reliable services. Digital technology could also be employed by train operating companies to better manage demand and address overcrowding. For example, operators could deploy data-driven technology to encourage passengers to alter their travel choices through financial incentives when and as needed. Season ticket holders could be reimbursed for days when they travel on non-peak services or work from home, for example.
Expanding capacity is one of the challenges that networks throughout UK are currently facing. Thus, building new lines should also be part of any programme that aims to future proof the railroad system. New lines not only provide direct additional capacity, but they can also lighten the burden to existing routes as well as allow old assets to be managed in new, different ways.