Keeping the Rail Technical Strategy alive

There has been solid progress towards the industry’s thirty-year vision for the future of the railway since the publication of the Rail Technology Strategy 2012 (RTS). Since then we have also witnessed considerable change across the wider rail and technology landscapes. As a result, we are working closely with Network Rail and the UK Rail Research Innovation Network (UKRRIN) to refresh the vision of the future railway.      

We want rail to be the mode of choice for moving passengers and freight efficiently and cost effectively; for the industry to thrive with operators and asset owners supported by a dynamic supply chain; for transport to be accessible for everyone and to support the UK economy; and for rail to have a positive impact on the environment by strengthening its green credentials and getting people and freight off the road. This requires unprecedented collaboration by industry and a common focus on key agreed objectives and enablers. 

If you are interested in getting involved in the Rail Technical Strategy refresh contact

Making decisions future proof: not easy but horizon scanning can help

We use horizon scanning to inform our cross-industry research programme and help rail decision and policy makers to plan for the future and mitigate emerging risks. 

We systematically analyse the opportunities and threats that the industry is facing and monitor a wide range of information sources and indicators to identify patterns and ‘weak signals’. 

We focus on emerging technologies that have unrealized potential, and which can evolve in ambiguous directions, to identify technology transfer opportunities where rail can leverage advances that have already been made in other industries.    

The challenge is ensuring that as an industry we prioritise the adoption of the technologies that offer the greatest promise. To achieve this, we map emerging technologies to the capabilities needed to deliver the future railway vision and estimate the gap between Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) in other sectors and their suitability and readiness for the deployment within in a rail context using Rail Industry Readiness Levels (RIRLs).