Technology and The Future of Rail

24th March 2016
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With more and more passengers using trains and rail services, the rail industry faces big challenges in keeping up with growing demand.

The problems do not just lie with passenger numbers however; the UK population is becoming increasingly technology dependant and “fast-moving” according to Railway Technology. Crossrail, HS2 and the green lighted Crossrail 2 should all provide much needed relief to the currently strained public transport networks in the UK while providing a platform to develop further the current infrastructure.

The Future of Rail

Rail travel will look very different in 30 years’ time as large scale projects such as Crossrail and HS2, electrification and the restructuring of Network Rail will simplify and ease passenger journeys. The digitisation of the railways however will be one of the biggest catalysts for change in the UK. Upgrading outdated signalling technology to digital methods as well as ensuring passengers are reliably connected via WiFi and mobile should see even more people put their faith in rail and opt for this over other methods of transport.

Concentration on Digitisation

The National Training Academy for Rail, opened late last year and is partly funded by the UK government. The facility contains digital signalling equipment, and a virtual reality and 3D simulation room which are being used to train the next generation of rail industry workers. Investment in rail is clearly being directed into digitisation and new technology.

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Improvements

The Shaw report, led by the Chief Executive of HS1 Nicola Shaw, was released on the 16th March and addresses the longer term future and financing of Network Rail. One of the recommendations made by the report says “the railway needs the right people with the right skills to deliver growth and safety” and that this can be achieved by “[improving] training and [establishing] a culture that attracts and retains a skilled workforce”.

Monitoring and Managing Employees with RailSmart

3Squared’s RailSmart suite features an Employee Development System (EDS) which reduces the administrative burden of compliance. This enables rail companies to manage and optimise their employees’ performance and will go some way to fulfilling the recommendations set out in the Shaw report. Competency management is an integral element for any passenger or freight rail company.

Delivering Growth and Safety

RailSmart EDS provides a high level of visibility of all competence data as well as business risk and incident management. The cost of compliance is reduced and provides improved staff retention which in turn delivers growth and improves safety (as noted in the Shaw report).

If you would like more information on 3Squared’s Employee Development System or the RailSmart suite, we have a comprehensive guide here.