Very interesting article from Patrice Caine the CEO of Thales. Whilst I agree with his comments on the digital revolution and its impact on travellers and operators, there are also a couple of other areas which are advancing rapidly due to technological advancements.
Whilst tech is having and will continue to have, a huge impact on users and operators. The future is changing just as much, if not more from a design, build and O&M perspective.
With the introduction of BIM and its development to 2.0 and planned 3.0. The design and development portion of projects are changing immensely. The amount of time and cost savings possible by utilising such systems is already having a major positive impact on developments globally, both within and outside the rail and infrastructure sector.
Another area which is benefiting from the digital age is O&M. New real-time diagnostic and asset management systems are having a huge impact to operators and maintenance sub-contractors. Technology is providing real-time information on track and rolling stock assets and enabling maintenance activities to happen with minimal or no delays to services. Operators can minimise downtime which in turn maximise the profitability of their assets.
One thing is certain the technology revolutions is, and will continue to have a positive impact within the rail and wider infrastructure sector. These advancements should enable a safer, more reliable and efficient offering.
Operators today have to be more inventive because they face tougher competition, not just from other operators, but from the new forms of transport that are emerging with the digital age and the rise of the “sharing economy”. To stay in the race, operators have no other choice but to innovate. Innovation in the rail sector goes hand-in-hand with digitalization. This is something we have known for quite some time. Twenty-five years ago we started replacing mechanical signalling systems in metros with Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) systems. Fifteen years ago we began to introduce ETCS (European Train Control System) systems on mainline rail networks. Today these systems are in service worldwide and on every continent, with a total of 13,000 km of mainline rail and 86 metro lines controlled by Thales systems.