Rail News

The Industrial Strategy: International & Domestic Considerations

In light of predictions that transportation demand is set to increase exponentially over the coming decades, the UK Government has begun to issue details about its ‘Industrial Strategy’. In a globally-connected world which is heavily reliant upon the rail, marine and bus & coach sectors, developments in government attention to these segments will be of interest to all transport interiors stakeholders.

What is the Industrial Strategy?

In short, it is the long-term strategic management of the economy to help the UK to respond to challenges to achieve greater future prosperity. It is intended to enhance economic attractiveness for investment and to strengthen both international and domestic trade links. The Strategy comprises the ten ‘pillars’ below.

Industrial Strategy
Industrial Strategy Pillars © Forbo

Why is this relevant to the Rail, Marine and Bus & Coach industries?

Demand for rail travel in the UK has doubled over the last twenty years, from 800 million journeys to over 1.7 billion. To maintain passenger experience satisfaction, the need for comfortable journeys on even busier services has never been more prevalent.

In addition, substantial growth is expected to continue in unitised freight against the expectation of global trade doubling in seaborne trade by 2030. Coupled with the fact that the landscape of the European Union is changing, the durability and strength of UK trade ports and gateways should be fortified from the ground-up and interiors need to be ready for this expected surge in demand.

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On the UK’s roads alone, the number of vehicle miles driven has risen 9.5 times since 1950. It is perhaps understandable why congestion has become more of an issue in recent years, the road network in terms of length has grown just 3% since 1993 yet carries 23% more traffic.

Younger people are less likely to apply for driving licenses with more opting to take public transport. With these facts in mind, comfortable journeys are paramount to enhancing user morale. Additionally, interiors need to be aesthetically pleasing and appealing to all age groups. From our Step safety flooring, clean-easy Coral FR entrance flooring, visually engaging Flotex FR flocked flooring or the quality and trustworthiness of our Eternal vinyl range, our products can truly augment the passenger experience.

The problem of time = money

So with an increase in future demand, how can operators gear-up to carry out renovation projects on a live network? The need for effective planning is key to delivering a project that is cost-efficient and causes minimum disruption. East Midlands Trains Project Manager Chris Elliott operated on a ‘just in time’ delivery basis and was pleased with Forbo’s approach to the EMT HST fleet refurbishment programme. Selecting the correct suppliers will support macro changes to infrastructure, but products need to be of high quality yet also durable in order for projects to herald long-term success.

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Train Flooring
Tessera Alignment FR – East Midlands Trains © Forbo

Transport Decarbonisation

Reducing the amount of Co2 in transport remains high on the Government’s agenda with the sector accounting for a quarter of domestic emissions. In light of the Paris Agreement, by 2050, the aim is for the UK to have cars and vans that are zero-emission. As this target is worked towards, products should be selected with the environmental implications in mind.

Reassuringly, all of Forbo’s factories use renewable green energy. Our Westbond FR carpet tile is made from wool, a truly renewable resource and it is also IMO certified making it ideal for marine projects. Our Marmoleum FR linoleum range offers versatility yet contains a high percentage of natural raw materials making it a conscientious choice.

Transport Decarbonisation
Transport accounts for a quarter of UK Co2 emissions © Forbo

Passenger Safety

With stringent controls in place across the Rail and Marine sectors, selecting flooring that meets these standards is a matter of mandatory practice. However, with an increase in the volume of users travelling via these means, incidentally there is a greater need for hygienic floor coverings that can also capture allergens. Both Marmoleum FR and Flotex FR have been awarded the prestigious “Seal of Approval” from Allergy UK and are proven to inhibit the growth and spread of bacteria.

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Train Flooring
Flotex FR © Forbo

User surveys indicate that journey reliability and quality are their key priorities. Maintenance and renewal spending can be costly, but by selecting suppliers and products that are robust, high quality and durable, the rendered return-on-investment will contribute to the success of projects that will ultimately make journeys more pleasurable. This is prudent in a time when demand on the network is set to increase more and more over the coming decades.

With a projected rapid increase in demand for Rail, Marine and Bus & Coach transportation bolstered by the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, choosing the correct floor covering will ensure longevity and return-on-investment against the backdrop of the sector’s rapidly changing landscape on a local and international level.

Original article © Forbo.

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