The Rail Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has partnered with the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and Deakin University (Victoria) to develop a ‘Smart Rail Route Map’, a project that aims to identify a plan for technology in the rail industry for the next 30 years.
Valued at A$500,000, the project will be funded by the Rail Manufacturing CRC and ARA, which will provide A$200,000 in cash, while the remaining A$350,000 will come from in-kind contributions.
“The Smart Rail Route Map will help our industry realise the vision of a national approach to rail technology, bringing economies of scale and supporting interoperability,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
According to the partners, the map will be technology-neutral and communicate in a non-technical manner. The Australian rail industry will own the system’s outputs and use them to introduce new technologies and services.
Deakin’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation professor Douglas Creighton is the leader of the university project team that will work on mapping the system during the development and modelling of the project’s outputs.
He said: “The project team is collaborating directly with a newly established steering committee made up of representatives across the Australian rail industry, to define industry goals, map key challenges for the rail sector over the next 30 years relating to technology disruption and identify focus area objectives and initiatives.”
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The committee has held meetings with several industry players to discuss the map’s main focus areas: Customer Service (Passenger), Customer Service (Freight), Traffic and Network Management, and High Performance Rail, with the aim to complete the project by the end of 2018.
Dr Stuart Thomson from Deakin University said: “The Smart Rail Route Map will translate ideas and data into a meaningful direction for how the Australian rail industry can leverage technology in the coming decades. The Rail Manufacturing CRC looks forward to working with the ARA and Deakin University to see tangible collaborative opportunities identified.”