Across the world, railways are on a fast track of modernisation, leveraging economies of scale and energy efficiency to achieve targets like zero-accidents and maximum speed of travel and passenger comfort. Technology is playing a decisive role in achieving these objectives. In this context, Indian Railways urgently needs modernisation and generational change to ensure safety, improve productivity and meet inclusive growth aspirations of the country.
Transportation of tomorrow, especially that of rail, is going to be different far beyond anyone’s imagination. The major drivers will be technology, digital communication, need for better safety, speed and passenger comfort. According to International Union or Railways (UIC), the number of rail passengers is increasing at the rate of 3.5%-plus every year. This, along with the increase in high-speed rail (HSR), has impacted the way the global railways will turn to be in the coming years in both appearance and functioning.
High-speed trains are going to become more and more popular in a world that demands the fastest commutation since time is money. In this backdrop, rail stations will have to develop in the future to accommodate new traffic growth and passenger expectations. Future stations have to be sustainable, accessible, intermodal and incorporate e-solutions. Railway stations will need to adapt to the increasing numbers and expectations of passengers, but development will be at different levels and speeds and will incorporate changes over time. Integrated transport system linking rail, road, air and sea is going to be a reality across the world, including India. Yes, travel is going to be much easier, comfortable, safer and economical, if the present trends and initiatives across the globe are any indication.
Integrated transport system, which is running successfully in many developed countries as well as in some of the South-east Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia, is catching up across many developing economies like India. The system, partially implemented in Delhi Metro, is proving to be quite popular and successful, according to reports. In the case of Kerala, the State Government is planning to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to promote an integrated intelligent transport system as a part of the Kochi metro rail project.
The proposals of the latest Indian Budget have set four goals to transform Indian Railways over the next 5 years, which are: a sustainable and measurable improvement in customer experience, making rail a safer means of travel, expansion of capacity substantially , modernisation of infrastructure, and making the railways financially self-sustainable.
(Read the full article in the 2015 October Issue of the Safety Messenger Magazine)