The government in various countries are focusing on offering hassle-free and efficient transportation. This is increasing the adoption of innovative technologies in railway industry worldwide. Factors such as paperless and integrated ticketing, adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data and increasing support and funding provided by the government for railways is driving the growth of smart railways globally.
According to the report from Future Market Insights (FMI), the global smart railways market is expected to reach $160 billion revenues by 2025. Due to the rise in adoption of smart technologies in India and China, APEJ has emerged as the largest market for smart railways, followed by North America and Western Europe. While, adoption of digital payment methods, integration of fiber optic technology, increase in use of cloud computing and GSM-R system are some other factors boosting the growth of smart railways market.
Deployment of technically advanced system in railways
The deployment of a smart signaling system at the East-West metro in India will enable trains to run faster with increasing frequency and streamlining the operations. The railway ministry has approved Rs.300 crore worth project. This includes block signal system and telecom control automated system where train picks up the signal from the track on which it runs. It will also deploy monitoring mechanism system.
More such technically advanced systems are being adopted by railways in different countries. Crossrail, Europe’s largest construction project is planning to integrate signaling and speed information technology. It is planning to deploy Automatic Train Operator (ATO) that will drive the train as energy-efficiently as possible. Moreover, automatic train protection system will monitor and control train movements. The project is also going to use intelligent on-train energy management systems. The train will be able to monitor and manage temperature and will be able to self-adjust it, using load shedding feature. The carriages will have a load management system which will automatically adjust HVAC system. While intelligent stabling will reduce power consumption. The Crossrail project is the most advanced project and is expected to transform rail travel in Europe.
The new technology that clears hazy visual caused by smog or fog in real-time has been developed by IIT Kharagpur in India. The technology is named as ‘Real-time fog removal & real-time rain removal from videos’. More such technologies are being developed in various countries making railway system more advanced and smart.
Innovations shaping the future of railway industry
Railway companies are working towards making railways more energy efficient. For example, the principal passenger railway operator in Netherlands has been able to power their trains using wind energy. It was able to power a train for 120 miles using a single wind turbine running for an hour. Vision technology is another new technology that allows train operating companies to manage, maintain and operate fleet through automatic inspections and measurements, thereby reducing maintenance cost.
Leading market players are also entering into partnerships and mergers to offer better services and new technology. For instance, Siemens is considering to merge its railway business with Bombardier to form a new joint company including locomotives, railway car and control technology.