This time last year we weren’t allowed to go anywhere and this year with rising fuel prices we can’t afford to go anywhere. The price of fuel is rapidly rising in the UK and currently there’s no light at the end of the funnel. Driving a car is the most expensive travel option at the moment, meaning people are re-thinking how they use their cars or ditching them altogether and replacing them with bicycles, motorbikes or public transport.
Fuel efficiency has been at the forefront of the rail industry for some time now, although it might not always be obvious. For years, diesel has held first place on the railroads expense list; coupled with decarbonisation at the top of the industries priority list, now is the time to implement innovative fuel efficiency technologies. Could rising fuel prices be the catalyst to transitioning towards greener mobility, or is it just pinching pennies from the decarbonisation pot?
An overlooked tool
Eco-driving isn’t a new phenomenon, the industry has been researching the topic since the 1960’s yet it has been somewhat overlooked as a tool to increase fuel efficiency. This could be due to the fact there has been a lack of technology to properly facilitate it and therefore no opportunities for the rail industry to implement it and reap the full benefits.
Eco-driving is described as a set of driving behaviours aimed towards reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Put simply, it is about driving a train as energy-efficiently as possible, ensuring safe and punctual arrival and departure times but without the excessive use of power and fuel (RSSB, 2011).
It’s not based on the driver behaviours alone, in order to save the maximum amount of fuel it extends to factors outside of the cab and the driver’s control. Train operators have implemented Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) in the past, but have been ultimately rendered useless as soon as the train deviates from the timetable. These systems cannot take into account other trains on the track, upcoming signals, delays, weather conditions, track gradient, engineering works, the list goes on and on. The railways are dynamic and need a system that can keep up, better yet, be one step ahead.
Revisiting the concept
Eco-driving presents a real opportunity for both passenger and freight rail to make energy and cost-efficient savings. Driver Advisory Systems have changed a lot in recent years, KeTech’s Connected Driver Advisory System is often mistaken for previous variations such as a Stand-alone Driver Advisory System (S-DAS) but in reality, it is fully signalling connected taking into account real train driver behaviours, providing and re-calculating real-time, in-trip advice to make savings in both carbon and cost without the need for major changes to current operations.
Behind the screen, KeTech’s C-DAS is a complex system. The software is designed so the system and the driver can achieve common goals such as meeting TIPLOC’s, reducing energy usage and therefore costs. When ETCS is rolled out C-DAS ensures a consistent level of data/performance/updates regardless of the level of ETCS in that area. The rail industry is changing and at KeTech we design systems with longevity that anticipate future needs and have the ability to change with the industry.
Fancy a 20% discount on your annual fuel bill? Let’s talk.