Basic rail data should be available and shared on the only one platform

Karel Novak, Published on 27/09/2022
Basic rail data should be available and shared on the only one platform

This is the main conclusion of the InnoTrans 2022 workshop on the topic 'Enhancing Data Interoperability in the Railway Sector'.


It was the European Union Agency for Railway (ERA) and RailNetEurope (RNE) who organized a workshop to facilitate the inventory of existing data platforms in the rail sector in the context of the preparatory action for a common European Mobility data space. The representant of the European Commission, Kristian Schmidt, reminded participants that knowledge of data can bring money:

"Our trains and our networks in the future will produce an insurmountable amount of data. Much more than let's say the system we now have. What we can do with that data will be, I would call, data "hogging" where each operator produces and uses data for its own purpose, or we will be able to share. And clearly, the Commission's vision is the letter: we talk about common data spaces where is a level of trust, there are rules for using data, and there are principles for fair and equitable access to that data because we all know that data is knowledge and knowledge is the money."

Harald Reisinger from RailNetEurope (RNE) highlighted the necessity of only one place for data: "We need one platform where we have all data together starting from the daily timetable, starting from the train run even GPS in the future. There are a lot of pilot projects, wagon information, container information, and locomotive information, then we can make mileage information for the wagon keepers. This would also reduce the workload for all of us. Finally, it's a win-win situation. We have less work and also better outcomes than we have at this moment. That's something that we are requiring. We see the final picture: we'd like to have one data platform, one open data space, and a mobility data space for this kind of data together with the EU Agency for Railways. We would like to reduce also the operational costs super easy: feeding one system it's easier than feeding seven systems or five systems differently."

Also Ralf-Charley Schultze, President of Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport, noticed changed conditions in the logistics market: "We should share the data because the needs of customers are to have the data. Not all the data but at least the data is concerned with his/her own business. The issue is from both sides: one has to share the data and the other has to get access to it. Regarding combined transport, there are a lot of stakeholders in the logistics market: when we talk about rail, it's only one part of a logistics chain and that's why it's so important to look at a transversal mode and a horizontal mode because all these modes have to be interconnected. Because things have changed a lot. Some new entrants increase the logistics footprint like Amazon, some shippers use advanced software to perform the 3PL tasks, and we have improved communication and information richness with 5G and with the Internet of Things."

And practical information from the rail digitalization world added RAILVIS.com managing partner Ctirad Klimanek who presented the functionalities of the RAILVIS.com platform and explained how this system deals with the data: "Our platform is currently fulfilled by the data manually but there is an option to import the data from one united template format or there is a possibility to create an API connection with companies' internal software which is more and more demanded. We'd also appreciate the ERA and RNE activities to motivate railway companies for easier and unified data transmission," he concluded his presentation.

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