The future of mobility is digital

The growing interest in how we will move tomorrow is more than a trend.

Mobility represents a basic need since the dawn of humanity. Consequently, the growing interest in how we will move tomorrow is more than a trend, for several reasons. On the one hand, the demand for mobility is expected to increase more rapidly in the future. On the other, the resources for greater growth are limited, since even the space in front of our homes for roads and railways is increasingly scarce. How can we resolve this contradiction?

Punctual, predictable, convenient journeys

Train passengers want to be informed and entertained, to use multiple modes of transport while avoiding delays and congestion, and increasingly to travel CO₂-neutrally wherever possible. Operators are responding to this bundle of requirements by increasing transport capacities, by trying to make better use of the available infrastructure, and by improving the attractiveness and thus the acceptance of public transport through a variety of individual measures. By increasing technical availability, we help to stabilize operations. By providing support with infrastructure and fleet management, we enable operators to optimize their capacity profiles. And in terms of travel convenience, we are designing our rail vehicles and equipment with the utmost flexibility.

Increasing availability and transport capacity

In every case, the starting point is digitalizing a maximum number of processes and functions. Technical availability, for example, is only possible with guaranteed, time-optimized service provision and efficient maintenance. Also essential are vehicles that intelligently send relevant service data, and analysis systems that can reach the right decisions on the basis of this data. For instance, the high-speed service between St. Petersburg and Moscow using Velaro RUS trains, which has maintained an average technical availability of 99.6 percent for years, or in Spain, where the Velaro E has over 99.8 percent availability.

Optimizing capacity profiles is another goal that is only made possible by digitalization and powerful software solutions. The European Train Control System (ETCS) demonstrates this clearly. Standardized throughout Europe and monitored by electronic control centers, ETCS is designed to prevent trains from traveling too quickly or moving into an occupied block. At the same time, it allows for shorter headways and lower costs for maintenance and operation of stationary systems, because the conventional optical rail signals alongside the track are no longer required.

Extra convenience is simple with the cloud

For travelers, smartphones and data clouds, online ticket purchasing and journey information updates have become part of everyday travel. This means it is now even easier to upgrade vehicles and infrastructure with convenient passenger information, entertainment and tailored services. Payment systems also continue to evolve, even electronic tickets will soon disappear from view altogether as they are replaced by Be-in/Be-out systems. Ideally travelers will be able to select any form of transport, be automatically checked in and out when they get on or switch modes, and receive a single, itemized mobility bill at the end of the month.