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article imageIntegrated transport solutions proposed for U.K. railways

By Tim Sandle     Nov 1, 2017 in Business
London - There are many advocates for an integrated transport policy and many see railways at the heart of this strategy. The U.K. government has commissioned a report to set out a vision for a modern, data driven railway network.
A new report commissioned by the U.K. government looking at rail infrastructure has been issued. The report comes from the Rail Delivery Group. The Rail Delivery Group is a pan-industry body, and it outlines a "landmark coming together" of private operators, suppliers, and Network Rail (the state owned company responsible for the rail infrastructure).
This article follows on from an overview of the benefits of integrated transport, titled “Modern economies need an integrated transport structure.”
The new report from the Rail Delivery Group is titled “In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity”, and it is said to be backed by private rail operators, and business and passenger groups. The report contains several commitments for the future of rail transport. These include:
Use of tracking technology. Customer journeys can be improved using technology to increase capacity by running trains closer together. Moreover, technology could help to improve information to help passengers during disruption, and to make buying and using tickets quicker and easier.
Moving to a partnership railway. This means planning services to connect up people with jobs, housing and business opportunities. The report signals that this could lead to £85 billion of additional economic benefits.
Using data analytics to understand how well trains operate. An example is SilverRail, which is a firm of developers, mathematicians and e-commerce experts who are seeking to improve the customer experience on the rail network through new products and services. One aim is to integrate payments, ticketing and routing to create a seamless experience across different rail networks.
Community involvement. Such as boosting communities through localized decision making and investment.
According to the BBC, Rail Delivery Group chief executive Paul Plummer said: “This plan, delivered by a changing partnership railway, will secure the economic benefits from current investment by the public and private sectors, and enable further improvement and investment.”
A sign  alongside the railway station  showing some of the new developments at King s Cross
A sign, alongside the railway station, showing some of the new developments at King's Cross
The report has not received universal support. One of the main critics is the main trade union representing railway workers, the RMT. According to RMT General Secretary Mick Cash the vision “is just the same old fantasy railway plans and promises of jam tomorrow that the public are sick and tired of. The whole package has been cobbled together to try and divert attention from the fact that the Rail Delivery Group 's core business is to prop up the Tory government and protect the financial interests of the overseas private companies that have been granted a license to plunder Britain's railways for over two decades.”
One country that has begun to implement a technological driven approach to rail improvements is Germany, with support from one of the leading German technology companies. To see what improvements have been made, read the article “Siemens, data analytics and train efficiency.”
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