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RAIL CHAMPIONS


Professionals from across the transport sector gathered in Birmingham on May 26 for the Rail Champions Intelligent City Debate, where they thrashed out the biggest issues in integrated travel, ticketing, value-for-money and data access. Kate Ashley reports.


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reated by Chris Williams-Lilley and presented by television presenter and


producer Jon Bentley, the Rail Champions conference sought to bring experts togeth- er to share their knowledge and expertise and to consider different approaches to some of the common and impending prob- lems found in rail and wider public trans- port policy.


The debate, which took place at Birming- ham University, focused on the concept of ‘intelligent city hubs’ and how different modes of transport can be used together to provide a more efficient and passenger friendly experience.


The event was divided into three sections: the changing role of stations; mastering the transport sector; and sustainable transport infrastructure. There were also a series of workshops which generated ideas on de- livering cost savings, innovation, transport sector alignment and intelligent hubs.


Networking with other members of the rail industry, and those who were connected by the idea of intelligent cities provided an excellent opportunity to discuss current practice and issues affecting rail today. In the face of government cuts and pressure to improve, rail must adapt. The key mes- sage was that Sir Roy McNulty’s report has highlighted many key challenges for the in- dustry, and now we must work together to produce novel solutions at lower cost.


Savings can be made through the use of more energy efficient systems, as dem- onstrated by WF Electrical. Technologi- cal advancement in computing can allow companies to work towards a preventative approach to disruption rather than waiting for failure before reacting. This included updating a large amount of machinery and computing equipment.


In his ‘Next City’ presentation, Martin Howell of global ticketing giant Cubic Transportation


Systems explained how


open payment systems could revolutionise ticketing and produce a smoother, cheaper, and quicker way to conduct journeys by


rail. They demonstrated examples of one card which allowed multi-modal travel.


Cordelis Consulting’s Robert Blackadder highlighted the ways in which value can be managed and maximised whilst minimis- ing costs. Dr Craig Nelson of Steer Davies Gleave demonstrated how social media is emerging as a valuable tool for increasing the distribution of live data from a variety of sources as well as promoting rail services and providers.


New technology, combined with the exper- tise in supply chain innovation and inte- gration throughout the system, will make it possible to deliver the necessary savings whilst expanding our railway and improv- ing service and fluidity for the entire jour- ney, speakers said.


An emphasis on the bigger picture was re-


iterated throughout the day, with different modes of transport and different aspects of the journey working together to create op- timum simplicity. To allow this to happen, ease of access between transport modes needs to be enhanced. Passenger data can be continually gathered by observing be- haviour to determine where the problems lie and in order to improve the service. It would then be possible to reply to the intel- ligent traveller with relevant information and alternative journey options if neces- sary.


The key concepts at the heart of this debate were the importance of innovation and in- tegration using a variety of methods.


FOR MORE INFORMATION


T: 01788 891 714 E: info@rail-champions.com W: http://rail-champions.com


rail technology magazine Jun/Jul 11 | 77


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