In the phase of collection information from potential members of the initiative we got a list of projects that are set very ambitiously and are all very market-oriented. If we connect the projects between partners and between countries, they will have even bigger market potential and impact on society and economy.
Action plan of the SEESARI follows the Strategy document of the SEESARI initiative and consist of seven core pillars:
1. SE Europe envisages the development of the high speed rail network
The construction of a safe, modern integrated railway network is one of the EU's major priorities. Economic integration and rapid growth in trade have transformed the European Union's transport needs. In order to service this integrated market, railways must become more competitive and offer high-quality and high-speed rail network. Modern, efficient and reliable infrastructure is the backbone of the European economy. The rail network in Europe enables the transport of passengers and goods across member states with high efficiency and low emissions.
High speed rail is not only a technical subject, but encompasses a complex reality involving various technical aspects such as infrastructure, rolling stock and operations and cross sector issues such as financial, commercial, managerial and training aspects. This rapidly expanding new transport mode is often described as the transport mode of the future for a number of reasons. As well as improving rail services, promoting the modern image they seek to convey and yielding greater customer satisfaction, high speed trains also play a key role in achieving territory integration and helping to create socio-economically balanced societies at world level. This highly efficient transport mode makes significant demands in terms of investment, technology, industry, the environment and its political and social aspects.
2. Ticketing: developing of a single platform and Integration of IT in passenger transport
With the large-scale construction of passenger-dedicated lines, to meet the high-speed railway passenger flow, high density operators need, and railway station must enhance the efficiency of sailing and checking ticket, raise the automation level of the whole system, improve the ticket security capabilities, and increase the amount of information of ticket system itself. Thus we can get the passenger transport data exactly and quickly, easy for the staff to carry out a variety of passenger marketing services. Shared information platforms and robust IT tools have to make possible real-time data exchange between rail service providers and other transport modes. Production of common interface standards has to ensure that the customer experience is seamless. There has to be the support for the real-time management of a system that is resilient to external influences. Customer experience applications have to be developed for both passengers and freight, and brought to the customer by a vibrant competitive market of innovative, independent suppliers. There has to be access to continuous high-speed data, allowing passengers to treat their journey as a seamless extension of their working or leisure environment. There is the need for seamless ticketing without queues or physical barriers at stations and electronic systems (smart phone etc.) for revenue collection and security controls based on electronic systems.
3. Development of a regional railway network
For the development of regional railway network it is important to define and to develop innovative, technical and technological advanced solutions and services in regional railway network with minimum investments in basic infrastructure and maximum added value towards advanced solutions for regional network. This will increase growth in transport demand and customer expectations based on quality of service, with demonstrative implementation of smart technologies that can ultimately contribute to improving the reliability and responsiveness of customer service in rail transportation, such as: - Improved signalling and safety devices (ERTMS regional) - Sustainable transport and logistics services - Innovative passenger services - New generation of rail vehicles (intermodality) - Integrated smart services model for regional railway network.
4. Joint procurement of railway rolling stock
The design of rolling stock plays a key role for the attractiveness of rail transport. Only trains that are comfortable, reliable, affordable and accessible can convince passengers to use rail transport instead of other modes. At the same time, the train design has to meet the requirements of the railway undertakings and the urban operators, who are the main customers of the rail supply industry, in order to deliver high quality and cost-efficient services to their customers. A combination of rail customers’ ever-evolving requirements for rail passenger vehicles regarding quality of service, time constraints, mounting energy costs, more stringent emission standards, and increasing stress on the economics of rail operation is generating a new wave of challenges to rail vehicle development. If rail is to compete more effectively with other modes and attract more passengers in the future, it needs a future generation of passenger trains that will be lighter, more energy and cost-efficient while at the same time providing a comfortable, safe and affordable travel experience for all passengers.
5. Interoperability and Unifications of Technical standards
Fostering and developing enhancements to the interoperability of services across state and operating borders as set out in the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) will continue to be a fundamental component of the future rail system as the transport backbone of Europe. Crucial to a successful rail system is the development of a set of harmonised operating processes in the form of International Rail Standards (IRS). This level of system convergence is for the benefit of deriving harmonised technical requirements for rail technology. This is needed for reliable interworking and will foster the development of compatible components to facilitate cross-utilisation throughout the system and to reduce the cost of production and maintenance.
Interoperability ensures trains cross state and operational borders without delay or operational constraint, offering a smart and competitive alternative to short and medium-distance flights and water and road-borne freight flows.
6. Social component (human resources, staff reorganization)
Positive working conditions, equal opportunities and the protection of health and safety of rail workers are essential to the delivery of high-quality services. The availability of a skilled and highly motivated labour force in the sector is essential for the supply of efficient and competitive transport services. Without tackling the issue of job quality, optimal progress towards a sustainable transport system is unlikely to be achieved. Competition, where introduced, has not led to a deterioration of salaries in the rail sector. Increased productivity and attractiveness of rail transport will lead to demand increases and investments, e.g. in new rolling stock, from which workers are likely to benefit.
Market opening needs to go hand in hand with quality jobs and working conditions, as human resources are a crucial component of any high quality transport system. It is also widely known that labour and skill shortages will become a serious concern for transport in the future. It will be important to align the competitiveness and the social agenda, building on social dialogue, in order to prevent social conflicts, which have proved to cause significant economic losses in a number of sectors, most importantly aviation.
The railway sector should therefore champion and develop technical railway schools. It should actively support the push for better gender balance in technical professions. Enterprises acknowledge the importance of investing in the personal development of every member of staff throughout their career to promote continuity in organisations and continuous quality improvement. As the railway sector works increasingly in a business-like manner, it should benefit from a larger set of transferable skills. It needs to ensure that it has arrangements in place to draw upon a broader pool of skills from other sectors. Rail must also utilise the expertise of universities, schools, industry etc. to offer best education / training opportunities for railway people to stay in or to enter the business and increase their knowledge.
7. Freight transport development and intermodality
Rail freight is particularly well placed to reduce Europe’s dependence on imported fuels, due to its high energy efficiency and major reliance on electric energy. Rail freight can support Europe’s competitiveness if the right framework conditions are set in place. In the future there is a demand for removing technical and administrative bottlenecks through achieving a Single European Railway Area through rail infrastructure investments while strictly applying the harmonisation of technical requirements (TSIs) across Europe, establishing a single EU authority for safety certifications, vehicle and ERTMS authorisations and ensuring a smooth transition to e-customs. A Master Plan for rail freight is to be launched with promoting a better integration of rail in the logistic chain by connecting the rail network to industrial sites, warehousing facilities and urban distribution nodes and supporting process innovation from the sector and smart investments, in particular for better use of existing infrastructure capacity and optimisation of resources and productivity gains. Also a new intermodal strategy for freight transport is to be developed through putting the transport at the heart of EU energy and climate policy, ensuring that all modes are treated equally and able to compete on a level-playing field, including when it comes to infrastructure user charging and internalisation of external costs, enhancing rail connections to seaports and hinterland terminals and limiting changes in weights and dimensions of road vehicles and trailers which would hinder combined transport.