The 15th meeting of the UIC Covid-19 Task Force was attended remotely on 24 November 2020 by around 50 participants from across the globe.
Marc Guigon, Chair of the Task Force, welcomed the participants and gave an overview of presentations to come. Regarding the global health crisis, he asked Jeff Moller, Assistant Vice President Transportation Systems & Practices at APTA (Association of American Railroads) to give an update of the situation in the United States, as there have been some considerable developments recently with regard to progress on vaccines. Mr Moller said that if developments continue at this speed, then millions of people could be vaccinated by the end of March, which is real step forward in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
A series of interesting presentations were then delivered by representatives from SNCB (Belgian National Railway), UITP (International Association of Public Transport), UIC’s Sustainable Development Unit and UIC’s Passenger Department.
The key themes of the presentations included:
- Case Study Presentation: MoveSafe – developing real-time ridership estimates to support social distancing at SNCB: Stefan Costeur, Digital Sales and Marketing Manager, Head of Innovation Lab, SNCB
- How does the Covid-19 virus spread in public spaces? Literature review of scientific research: Mircea Steriu, Statistics Manager – Knowledge & Innovation, UITP
- Role of Rail in a green Recovery: Lucie Anderton, Head of UIC Sustainable Development Unit
- New Normal Report: Philippe Lorand, Senior Advisor UIC Passenger Department
Philippe Lorand, UIC Senior Advisor and member of the internal Task Force team, then gave an update on the Progress Report regarding the New Normal, a white paper currently being prepared in collaboration with consultancy firm Roland Berger. The aim of the document is to give guidance for the future in terms of how trends will affect railway mobility and how to anticipate this post-Covid period until 2025. Input from members will be included in this report based on answers from the New Normal questionnaire, the deadline of which has been extended to 3 December.
During the “Next Steps”, Philippe Lorand and Laura Petersen (UIC Security Unit) reminded the participants to complete the fourth questionnaire, which was mentioned during the 13th Task Force meeting, and to send all replies before the deadline which has been extended to 30 November. This fourth questionnaire is designed to gain a better idea of members’ expectations in terms of what topics to address and to be able to plan the Task Force meetings accordingly.
A special mention was given towards the end of the meeting to participant Erik Van Meensel, Head of International Affairs, NMBS/SNCB, who has been nominated for the Covid-19 Outbreak Special Award. The nominees will present their achievements and challenges during a live webinar to be held as part of the Virtual European Risk Management Awards Week, organised by FERMA (Federation of European Risk Management Associations) and Commercial Risk Europe from 7 – 11 December 2020 (read more in eNews: https://uic.org/com/enews/article/belgium-sncb-is-nominated-for-the-covid-19-outbreak-special-award)
Concluding words were given by Marc Guigon, who thanked the participants for their contributions and extended a particularly warm thank you to Ms Karine Heuer from Deutsche Bahn AG as it was her last Task Force meeting, and wished her all the best for the future.
All guidance documents can be consulted on UIC’s dedicated Covid-19 webpage, which is regularly updated with the latest video, news articles, webinars and other audiovisual material: https://uic.org/covid-19
As a reminder, the Task Force LinkedIn group is open to members. Feel free to join the group and share your thoughts: https://lnkd.in/eEKqfW2
The next Task Force web-conference is scheduled to take place on 26 January 2021. Members are asked to give details of their expectations of future meetings.