How prototyping will innovate the rail environment

How prototyping will innovate the rail environment

Carlo Borghini, Executive Director at Europe’s Rail, underlines how important a coordinated and consistent deployment of innovative solutions is across Europe to ensure that all countries can benefit from the new technologies and their applications. The Deployment Group, introduced by Europe’s Rail, is the advisory body of the Governing Board that supports and spreads the culture of Research and Innovation.

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Introducing new technologies requires full preparedness of the supply chain, of infrastructure managers, of maintenance, of depot, of rail operators and of clients.

How do you see innovation taking its place in the rail environment? What is the role of prototyping in this process?

This is a complex process, in my opinion, because while research and innovation may demonstrate its benefits building upon prototypes and demonstration activities to make sure they are viable, sustainable, brining benefits, etc.  bringing products to the market requires a decision making process relying on different actors, for example governments, local – regional or national, companies whose margins might be stretched, and finally migration plans where costs and benefits are spread over a long period of time. 

Demonstration activities make it possible to demonstrate benefits in an operational environment and atCarlo Borghini large scale. Yet, it is not sufficient and, especially when it comes to key structural changes, a coordinated and consistent deployment is needed. If a country decides to deploy a new technological solution in the centre of Europe and other countries don’t do the same, all the trains crossing the borders departing for the other countries will face a challenging situation and will require to change onboard system. R&I requires a coordinated and consistent deployment of innovative solutions

This is why Europe’s Rail has introduced the Deployment Group, an advisory body of the Governing Board to tackle the future coordinated and consistent deployment of the R&I results and more. 

A coordinated and consistent migration plan is essential because introducing new technologies requires a full preparedness of the supply chain, of infrastructure managers, of maintenance, of depot, of wagon keepers, of rail operators and of clients (passengers or logistics). Communicating with clients before introducing innovations is crucial as the transition period inevitably comes with disservices and problems and clients need to be aware of the reasons behind this.

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Roman Kurzo
Fincons Group
Global BU Transportation General Manager
https://www.linkedin.com/in/roman-kurzo/