The railways of the future discussed at FOSTER RAIL World Café

The railways of the future discussed at FOSTER RAIL World Café

The future of rail, potential reference scenarios, unique features and multimodal solutions were discussed by international sector experts on 27 March 2014.

One of the goals of the FOSTER RAIL project is the development of reference scenarios for potential developments in the rail sector up until 2050+. Generic future scenarios for the rail sector are being developed taking into account the following four socioeconomic framework conditions:

  • Single European Railway Area
  • Internal European rail market
  • Pan-European rail network
  • Re-regionalisation of rail

At the occasion of a World Café on 27 March 2014, numerousrail sector experts met in Brussels for discussions to further develop those scenarios. At the beginning of the meeting, the participants were briefed about the different storylines to be developed with the help of guiding questions. A detailed elaboration of those scenarios in the following business segments was then carried out, taking into account future trends in the rail sector:

  • High speed rail
  • Long and medium distance in rail passenger traffic
  • Regional and urban freight traffic
  • Regional and urban passenger traffic
  • Urban metro and tram

To summarise, there is still a general demand for a more “aggressive” strategy for the rail sector combined with measures to increase its attractiveness. This would help to better exploiting the existing and potential advantages of rail in comparison to other transport modes such as car or plane. In addition, multimodal door-to-door solutions (not only station-to-station) and real time delay information should be extended by using crowdsourcing technologies. In order to reach its full potential, a consistent network of (inter)regional and urban hubs is needed for passenger as well as freight traffic. The role of high speed rail should be underlined and the changing user groups due to mobility trends and an aging population need to be taken into account. Rail has unique selling points to cope with future social, economic and ecological challenges. This underlines once again the necessity of a European vision for the future of rail.