Tuesday 22 April 2014
Railway Research

Participation of UIC in Transport Research Arena 2014

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The 5th edition of the Transport Research Arena (TRA) was organised in Paris from 14 – 17 April.

TRA is a high level scientific conference dealing with European and national research activities and all aspects of R&D from basic sciences, socioeconomic research to applied sciences and demonstration activities, thus covering all surface transport modes, rail, road, waterborne and their interfaces.

UIC presented several European co-funded projects at Scientific and Technical sessions and on its stand

During the four days of the conference, several UIC Senior Advisors were invited to take part in Scientific and Technical sessions to talk about their activities and more specifically about the achievements of on-going European co-funded projects, including Capacity4Rail, Protectrail, Mainline, Satloc, Spectrum, Sustrail.

A certain number of projects were also showcased on UIC’s stand in TRA exhibition area, including presentations on the SUSTRAIL (presented by Clemente Fuggini, Deputy project coordinator, Consorzio TRAIN D’Appolonia) and SPECTRUM projects (presented by Ross Jackson, Newrail) dealing with rail freight issues, Capacity4Rail (presented by Laurent Schmitt, UIC) addressing issues for a high capacity European railway system for 2030/2050, and the RESTRAIL and PROTECTRAIL projects regarding security (presented by Marie-Hélène Bonneau and José Pires, UIC).

The 2014 edition of the TRA conference was also an opportunity to present the rail sector’s business-led vision for the future European railway system “Challenge 2050” (http://www.uic.org/IMG/pdf/challenge2050.pdf) that the UIC published on behalf of the Sector.

It was also the opportunity to showcase the recently published “Rail Technical Strategy Europe” (RTSE) (http://www.uic.org/IMG/pdf/rail_technical_strategy_february_2014.pdf) that describes the ROC’s strategy to deliver the technical pillar of the Challenge 2050 vision. Discussions around rail research and innovation also concentrated on SHIFT²RAIL, the future Joint Undertaking which should be officially launched by the beginning of this summer.

Participation of UIC in the Strategic Session “Rail as an Attractive and Sustainable Mode for the Future”

In one of the two strategic sessions focused on Rail, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux explained his “dream” about Rail in the heart of the global transportation system, building on the basis of the recently published Rail Technical Strategy for Europe (RTSE).

His speech is available here:


Ralph Mueller (DB) supported the content of the previous presentation and explained his vision of a well integrated system and said that the many changes which are happening give him hope that the borders between the modes of transport will significantly be reduced by innovation. He also addressed the developments in autonomous driving in road transport, which he labelled as a risk but also as an opportunity for rail. More emphasis should be given to the specific strengths of rail transport such as for instance the pleasant environment of travelling in the high speed trains which can only be created by rail. He underlined the opportunities of the S2R initiative but stated that the input from the rail operators is urgently needed.

Daniel Cadet of Alstom reacted to the statement of moderator Christopher Irwin of the EPF that Rail is usually the last choice of travellers. According to Mr Cadet Rail is now becoming the choice of the people! He proceeded to address many of the global megatrends influencing transport. One of the main issues he mentioned was the high cost of the rail system and especially of trains which are not standardised and often built for specific customers in low quantities. Like the car industry it should be possible for the cost of maintenance to become affordable. He preferred to be pragmatic instead of Jules Verne-like dreams he said.

Professor Mark Robinson of NewRail demonstrated that rail is well ahead of all other modes of transport in the reduction of CO2. The interesting panel session was followed by a lively discussion between the panel members and the audience.
Professor Manuel Pereira would see removing all borders in rail transport, replacing national based stakeholders by efficient business men as the solution for rail.

Liam Breslin of DG Research asked himself if we are moving fast enough with the innovation of the rail system and wondered if we were forgetting about rail freight....

In the latest plenary session on the closing day of the conference, “Innovation in Transport – the way to go”, Robert Skinner, Executive President of the Transport Research Board, the US institution in charge of transport research, pointed out the common wish for both the United States and the European Union to further develop in the coming months their exchanges to find common solutions to support a global sustainable mobility for all. In addition, the invited representative from the STIF (institution in charge of the organisation and regulation of public transports in the Paris region) stressed the main importance for transport researchers in supporting transport operators and public authorities in finding the adequate solutions to a smarter mobility today involving all the necessary stakeholders as transportation can no longer be limited to an isolated challenge from the rest of all economical, social and cultural activities. He concluded his intervention stressing the importance for Europe to invest in the transportation domain as it remains a sector where Europe is competitive and can bring its expertise to the rest of the world.

A more detailed presentation of some of the sessions (plenary/strategic/scientific & technical) addressed during the TRA 2014 will be made available on the UIC extranet.

Presentations made by UIC Senior Advisors on the UIC Stand are available here:

  • SUSTRAIL General Presentation:


  • UIC Security EU projects:


  • CHALLENGE 2050:




The 6th TRA will be organised in spring 2016 in Warsaw, Poland.

For more information please contact François Maugère, UIC Innovation Advisor: maugere@uic.org and Dennis Schut, UIC Research Manager: schut@uic.org

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UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux participating in the Strategic Session “Rail as an Attractive and Sustainable Mode for the Future”