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The important relationship between digital and decarbonisation in rail

Digital transformation in the rail industry has already left the station but it’s going to be a long journey due to the fact that it is built, literally, on a centuries-old platform.

Decarbonisation is no longer a buzzword, it’s a reality. The rail industry is feeling the pressure to do more; not only because the time is right, but to mitigate the direct affects climate change has on the rails.

The industry is welcoming innovation to meet its targets, but with some at such an early stage it creates uncertainty for decision makers in terms of choosing the right option. A lot of work is ahead if the industry is going to deliver real progress. One key weapon in its fight to deliver decarbonisation will be technology, both in improving the efficiency of IT functions and in harnessing it to unlock new ways of transforming operations and ways of working.

The industry is challenged with fragmented legacy systems that are hard to access. Digital transformation allows the visibility the industry needs to move forward, increasing clarity of operations through unification and centralisation of data. Rather than being treated as an afterthought, real-time connectivity needs to be the foundation of any digital transformation strategy to successfully unite data and users.

The journey towards digital transformation and decarbonisation is a never ending one, there is no end destination where we stop and get off. The industry must learn how to continuously benefit from intelligent, real-time information to accelerate progress.

Electrification is being rolled out across the network, but it’s not being rolled out fast enough for the UK to reach net zero by 2050; and even then, there will still be gaps on the network. It’s up to the industry to consider alternatives in the meantime and integrate solutions that have the capability evolve with it, meeting the needs of the railways both today and in the future.

KeTech’s Connected Driver Advisory System (C-DAS) harnesses data from the multiple sources it is connected to and transforms it into interpretable, intelligent real-time information. It provides all the benefits of ETCS without electrification of the network but will integrate seamlessly when electrification is complete. The system will effortlessly switch from ETCS to non-ETCS closing the gaps that will still exist on the network upon completion.

C-DAS uses data analytics and digital twin technology to monitor, manage and optimise train driving behaviour and significantly reduce energy usage. The system provides journey reports that benefits route and timetable management.

Electric cars are not the future, fewer cars are. In order to achieve this digital transformation is something the industry must get on-board with; moving away from short-term cost saving strategies to investing in truly futureproof systems which in the long term will significantly reduce costs and emissions.

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