Smart Rail Conference 2015

Image Courtesy of Charlotte Convention Center

The annual Smart Rail Congress and Expo 2015 will take place in the Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, on the 28th and 29th October, 2015.

The conference is the only one of its kind in the United States, focusing specifically on the growth industry of passenger transit in America. It will feature speakers, panel discussions, seminars and an expo with more than 40 industry suppliers and solutions providers.

America is currently at a crossroads in its passenger rail industry two high-speed projects have been given the green light in California, and one of them is state funded. The Northeast corridor is currently investing unprecedented sums into high-speed intercity links between New York, Washington D.C. and Boston, with new and innovative solutions constantly being researched and developed to make Americas passenger rail network an international contender.

Speakers and Roundtables

Speakers will cover topics including the current state and the future of US passenger rail, the role of technology and IT, safety and security, education and training, the challenge of increasing and maintaining ridership and the role of innovative solutions.

The opening keynote speaker, CEO of Fast Future Rohit Talwar, promises to deliver an exciting presentation. Rohit was profiled as a Top Ten Global Future Thinker by the Independent newspaper, and his approach to innovation in transit is a holistic one, taking into account emerging technologies, markets and sustainability as they are relevant to the transport industry.

The congress will be particularly forward-thinking, with other keynote speakers focusing on the future of passenger rail in the US; topics covered will include planning, finance, growth, technology and product innovation.

Speakers include representatives from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, BART, CATS, the National Association of Railroad Passengers, RTA Chicago, Metra, North Carolina Department of Transportation, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and Metrolink, among others.

Roundtables will include the increasingly important issue of cyber-security and off-line security, wifi, asset management, maintenance, planning, safety, ridership and financing. These will allow delegates to network and educate themselves on cutting-edge ideas and innovations and share best-practice techniques in order that the whole industry moves forward together.

Technical Seminars

The technical seminars as part of the exhibition will include case studies from around the world, including Russia, and will also look at domestic projects. There will be a Smart Bus expo running alongside technical seminars. Subjects covered will include product innovation, project planning and investing in ridership through social media platforms.

Seminar leaders will be representatives from industry and state authorities, including representatives from Cybersecurity Analysis, OTN systems, CTC, CelPlan, AFL PCTel, RADWIN and Ragant.

There have also been 15 hours set aside for networking, in order that professionals and policy makers in and around the industry can meet, share information and do business.

Inaugural Award Winners (Spoiler Alert)

2015 has enjoyed a particularly high standard of innovations and projects in the rail industry. The six judges pointed out that it was not an easy or enviable task to select the best. However, they judged that the most transformational product was produced by Bombardier, who won the coveted Product of the Year award for the cutting edge safety solution YardSafe. The product provides location-awareness technology for rail yard and maintenance facilities.

Mark Willer, Product Manager, Technology Systems at Bombardier; said:

We are extremely pleased to have been selected by the SmartRail judging panel as the winning entry for Product of the Year for 2015. Bombardiers Technology Solutions team is dedicated to developing and delivering systems that add real value and improve safety in the rail transit industry. We believe this award is a reflection of our teams vision for the innovative application of technology and our commitment to achieving these goals.
We would also like to recognize our colleagues in Bombardier that supported UP Express. Our team of Train Operating Crews, Guest Service Representatives and Maintenance teams along with their related management teams are thrilled to be a part of and to deliver such a world class link between Pearson Airport and Torontos downtown core.

The runner up for Product of the Year was Divvali LED, for their LED Locomotive Lamps, and highly commended were RADWIN for their FiberinMotion Train-to-Ground Solution, Moovit for Your City, Your Local Transit app, and One Bus Away, for their open source platform for real-time transit information.

Project of the Year was won by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority, with the installation of a new intelligence-based surveillance system as part of a 30-year rail transit expansion.

Al Martinez, Director, Information Management at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority said:

We are excited to receive the Project of the Year Award from SmartRail USA. LA Metro is working hard to research new and innovative tools that will improve the customer experience as well as safety for the transit riders of Los Angeles.  We believe implementing this new intelligence based surveillance system on our rail fleet will move us closer to this goal.  We are grateful for recognizing LA Metros efforts with this award.

The runner up for this award is Amtrak, for their next-generation wireless communications project, and highly commended was UP Express, for their integrated transit solution for Toronto.

SmartRail World

The congress and expo are organised by the Global Transport Forum, which also provides SmartRail World Industry News and organises the SmartRail Europe conference, as well as conferences in Copenhagen and Bangkok.

The Global Transport Forum is specialist in organising conferences, congresses and expos for the rail and metrolink industry. GTF fosters relationships with rail operators and solutions providers, as well as government bodies and regulators, in order to create events specifically for the industry. Past conferences have been consistently highly rated by attendees, and it looks like this one will continue the trend.

To read more about the award-winning innovations mentioned in this article, see below:

Bombardier, Product of the Year 2015: YardSafe –

Divvali: LED Locomotive Headlight –

Radwin: FiberinMotion –

Moovit: Your City, Your Local Transit App –

OneBusAway: open-source platform for real-time transit information –

For more information about the American passenger rail industry, click here.

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