Activity: Digital Railways

Digitalisation: don't miss the opportunity

The European Commission's Digital Agenda is one of the 7 pillars of the Europe 2020 Strategy presented by Commission President Juncker. It applies to all modes of transport and aims at developing a digital single market in order to generate smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe. In this context, the Digitalisation of railways is a key factor to improve information exchange and develop better services to passengers and freight.

In order to increase the competitiveness and the reliability of services in rail freight, we need to explore all the opportunities offered by digital technology and commit to innovation. If we want to speed-up the processes towards a higher degree of interoperability while maintaining safety along the rail network, we need a joint effort of all involved actors including suppliers, shippers and end-users.

The EU Digital Single Market strategy (COM (2015) 192) which was adopted on May 6, 2015 includes 16 initiatives to be delivered by the end of 2016. These initiatives are grouped in three main pillars:

  • Access: better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe;
  • Environment: creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish;
  • Economy & Society: maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.

In this context and to launch an open dialogue among all modes of transport and Member States, the EC set up a Digital Transport and Logistic Forum (DTLF) on April 9, 2015. The Forum brings together experts from the industry and the rail sector who share current best practices and forthcoming digital priorities and needs.

Significance to UIP and our Members

UIP and its members strongly believe that a commitment is needed for voluntary cooperation among Wagon Keepers, RUs and Infrastructure Managers to exchange information that is important for the proper maintenance and safe operations of rail vehicles between those partners who “need to know”. The internet of things (IoT) will further help increasing productivity and effectiveness in all operational processes.

Therefore, UIP is engaged in an open dialogue with other Sector actors to develop a common understanding and address challenges such as:

  • The development of an open minded approach towards the sharing of data
  • The recognition of the importance of Data Protection and Cyber Security to create a climate of trust
  • The implementation and use of existing IT tools and best practices
  • The standardisation of data formats and interfaces

In its discussions with the European Commission, UIP continuously stresses the importance of aligning digitalisation objectives with the priorities towards a Single European Railway Area and  the promotion of better and cheaper rail freight services for customers.  For rail to continue to play its crucial role for sustainable transports of people and goods, we believe that digitalisation should reflect following top priorities: 

  • Harmonised EU vehicle certification and authorisation
  • Vehicle Registration and Marking
  • On schedule EU-wide implementation of standardised data exchange (Telematic Applications for Freight – TAF TSI)
  • Common guidelines for maintenance
  • Harmonised systems for safety

To achieve this, UIP will continue to actively participate in the development and implementation of Telematic Applications for Freight (TAF) and in the promotion of the needs for better exchange of information via smart tools, such as RSRD2.

UIP Documents

A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe - COM(2015) 192 final - May 2015
Digital Single Market Fact Sheet - May 2015
Commission Decision on Setting up an Expert Group on Digital Transport and Logistics ('The Digital Transport and Logistics Forum') - April 2015

Interesting Links

RSRD2 website
Digital Agenda for Europe
European Logistics Platform