Industry sets out 12 key rail priorities to ‘strengthen case for funding’
Rail industry experts have come together to launch the Capability Delivery Plan (CPD), which highlights the current challenges facing the railway in the digital age and outlines 12 whole-system priority areas that need to be improved in the coming years.
Building on the Rail Technical Strategy (RTS) from 2012 and Network Rail’s 2013 Technical Strategy, the CPD was developed through consultation with experts from across the sector and its supply chain. It has been endorsed by the Rail Delivery Group and the Rail Supply Group – especially since it complements the latter’s ‘Fast Track for Growth’ strategy – and is being led by the industry Technical Leadership Group on their behalf.
The 12 ‘key capabilities’ identified in the plan are said to be essential to ensuring the railway can meet its objectives of increased capacity and better customer service in a “sustainable and affordable manner”.
It includes specific milestones that build towards the delivery of these key capabilities, as well as a programme structure that highlights the priority areas specifically for technology development and deployment.
Delivering against these priorities, the CPD said, will provide “quick-win improvements to strengthen the case for funding”.
The 12 key capabilities include:
- Running trains closer together
- Minimal disruption to train services
- Efficient passenger flows through stations and trains
- More value from data
- Optimum energy use
- More space on trains
- Services timed to the second
- Intelligent trains
- Personalised customer experience
- Flexible freight
- Low-cost railway solutions
- Accelerated research, development and technology deployment
“To deliver the CDP the rail industry and the supply chain will need to collaborate and new mechanisms for funding the development and deployment of technology into the railway system will need to be established,” the document read.
“The outputs from existing investments into technologies, which support the delivery of the CDP, will need to be taken forward to market so that the industry can reap the benefits from the renaissance in UK led rail technologies.”
The 2012 RTS originally set out a vision for a technologically-enabled railway that can deliver efficient, affordable, flexible and attractive transportation over the next 30 years. The 12 capabilities outlined in the CPD are “intrinsic” to realising this vision and will require “strong leadership, co-ordination and collaboration from all parts of the industry”.
“Rail is running the risk of being left behind other transport sectors, especially automotive, where technology development and deployment is enabling new business models and mobility solutions to prosper,” the CPD argued. “Eleven of the 12 capabilities need technologies to be developed (or transferred), integrated and deployed.
“Our twelfth capability, ’Accelerated Research, Development and Technology Deployment’, aims to inspire greater confidence to the rail supply chain and private funders by increasing the pace of development and delivery.
“A united effort can ensure that the plan’s milestones are included in industry planning, and that funding is co-ordinated, targeted, and secured.”
The RSSB has also made the plan available in an interactive format, where users can click on each of the 12 capabilities to view the specific milestones embedded within them.
Its head of rail technical strategy and TGL programme manager, Guy Woodroffe, said: “We are pleased that the delivery plan has been issued, but now comes the hard work of bringing the industry together to make the plan a reality.”
In a statement, the RSSB revealed that its research, design and technology projects that support the plan include a mobile app that uses Bluetooth to aid the flow of passengers through ticket gates; new seat designs, which improve comfort and boost customer capacity in carriages; and trialling new signalling technology, which will help meet the first key capability of allowing trains to run closely together.
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