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Saturday, August 20, 2022

RIA survey reveals confidence in rail as innovative sector

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has released the results of a new survey that reveals that there is growing confidence among railway professionals that the industry is innovative.

The new report compares the results of two surveys of train professionals conducted in 2019 and 2021.

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Over 60% of respondents in 2021 believed that the train is “very innovative, very or quite enough”, an increase of 12% from 2019.

The railway was perceived as less innovative than the automotive, transport, finance and security sectors, but saw the greatest momentum of these sectors from 2019 to 2021 in those who said it was “very innovative, very or quite enough”.

Procurement, sponsorship and champions and product approval have been named as the three ‘priorities and processes’ that have the greatest impact on train innovation.

Availability of train funding, testing and testing facilities and innovation consulting have been identified as the three ‘facilities and resources’ that have the greatest impact on train innovation.

56% of respondents said the epidemic had a negative impact on their planned innovation projects in 2020/21.

David Clark, Technical Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “Innovation is extremely important for the railway sector – helping to ensure that the industry continues to provide the best services to passengers and freight users, while providing more cost-effective, reducing carbon emissions and less disruption to the public.

“As part of RIA’s Unlocking Innovation program, we surveyed professionals from across the rail sector, estimating how much they believe the industry is innovative. The results give reason to be optimistic, showing a significant jump from 2019 to 2021 in the number of respondents -62% .However, it also showed that more work needs to be done, especially in areas like procurement and financing of railways, to ensure train providers have all the tools they need to bring new products and services to market.

“Although they are moving in the right direction, railway professionals still see their industry as less innovative than some others. Although it is not clear how objective this assessment is, it suggests there is more to do in celebrating and promoting innovation in the railway industry.

“So, the sector is advancing, but we just can not rest on our laurels. At RIA, our Unlocking Innovation program, supported by strategic partners Network Rail and UKRRIN, continues to bring together innovators and promote the good work of companies across the sector. “As we approach 2022, we will continue to support the rail industry in its efforts to provide advanced rail services across the UK and beyond.”

David Rowe, Head of Rail Technology at Network Rail, said: “This is good news to see the industry’s confidence in its ability to innovate. Through Network Rail’s research and development portfolio, we have invested around £ 245 million for innovative products and solutions, including use. In light products and new automation processes – with examples such as the Prometheus drone and the FLOW Bridge.

“And through the accelerated innovation program, we took a new approach to acquiring innovation, and took ideas from proof of concept to first deployment within 12 months. Moreover, all of our work is tailored to the extensive technical train strategy and priorities within it.

“There has never been a better time to be involved – whether you are new to the train or an already established company, the train field is the perfect place to develop new technologies that provide greater benefits to all our train users.”

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