Australian Railway Association Working With Academics on ‘Smart Rail Route Map’

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA), Rail Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), and Deakin University, Victoria, are working together to produce a Smart Rail Route Map for the rail industry in Australia.

The map will present a long-term vision for the development and implementation of technology in the rail industry over the next 30 years by identifying common priorities, themes, timelines and actions. The key focus areas are customer service (passenger and freight), traffic and network management, and high-performance rail. The results will be used by the rail industry to support the introduction of new, efficient and cost-effective technologies and services.

The map will be ‘technology-neutral’ and the information will be accessible to people without knowledge of the software. The total funding for the project amounts to $500,000. The ARA and CRC have provided $200,000 and the remaining costs will be covered by contributions in kind. The project should be completed by 31 December 2018.

Professor Douglas Creighton from Deakin’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation will provide expertise in systems mapping to develop and model the results. Professor Creighton 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 the key challenges for the rail sector over the next 30 years relating to technology disruption, and identify focus area objectives and initiatives.”

Danny Broad, CEO of ARA, said:

“The Smart Rail Route Map will help our industry to realise the vision of a national approach to rail technology, bringing economies of scale, support interoperability and many other efficiencies.”

Dr Stuart Thomson, CEO of the CRC, 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.”

The Smart Rail Route Map will be a major theme at the 2018 Telecommunication and Technology Forum, which the ARA is hosting in Melbourne on 30 October. The forum will promote active discussion and debate to confirm and refine potential telecommunications and technology initiatives in the rail industry.

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