The past few decades have been filled with a lot of exciting innovation and technological improvements for the humankind. These advancements have helped improve lots of industries such as medicine and finance, and the rail industry, too, has not been left behind. The Rail Industry, one of the oldest forms of transportation, has seen many transformations, the most recent being digitization.
Building and managing of the rails is pretty expensive and digitization is being used to curb the expenses of maintaining the rail industry and to provide better services for commuters. Globally, digitization of this industry is at different levels with the developed states leading the way.
Aspects of the rail industry affected by digitization
Rail digitalization touches three significant aspects in the industry;
- Creation of Smart Trains
- Digitalization of rail infrastructure (intelligent)
- Command and control system to manage network
Current digitization of the rail industry focuses on the areas discussed below.
Computerized Train and Infrastructure
A centralized command and control system is used to oversee these modern trains. Advantages of this system are;
- Reliability and safety
- The smooth running of the network
- Access to valuable information to drivers, staff, and passengers
- Sustainable model through intelligence so that maintenance can be predicted early
With the computerization of trains and infrastructure, high-speed trains are being used to curb the menace of high traffic experienced globally. Short interview trains are used to ferry people to and fro during peak hours at affordable rates thereby saving time.
It is also important to note that these high-speed trains are electric and therefore environmental friendly reducing air pollution that is caused by the transport industry.
Rail Transport carries a considerable number of people at a go so matters of security cannot be underestimated. With lots of people travelling using rail, it is possible that you sit beside a hacker in one or two rides every month which begs the question, should you always use a VPN in a train?
Network connectivity comes with both pros and cons, and so safety for both rail operator’s information and passenger’s data need to be protected from cybercrimes. Thales system has designed security technology in AI, Big Data, Connectivity and Cybersecurity which can be emulated elsewhere to combat cybercrimes.
Digitalization of customer care is ongoing processing in many institutions including the rail sector. Application of smart video analysis strengthens passenger security, connects passengers and operators, and it’s a safe way for fare collection.
Like the air transport, smart video analyses provides passengers with information and services they may need while on transit and operators can interact with passengers and get feedback on the quality of their services.
Digitalization has dramatically changed the rail industry in terms of productivity, customer care, security, and reliability. Passengers are also able to plan by making bookings for individuals or groups because they are better informed incases of connected journeys.
Infrastructure maintenance has been improved by being in collaboration with digital developers. Innovation gets better and better each day so to be on top of the game digital developers are key players in infrastructure maintenance.
The goal for this twin collaboration is to ensure a railway line is not closed in the name of maintenance. The physical and network support must go hand in hand.
Rail digital transformation will help to ensure efficient, safe, enjoyable and environmentally- friendly means of transport worldwide. Form the look of things, the future seems bright for this industry.