On 26 and 27 February 2020, UIC was pleased to welcome the Station Managers Global Group members for the first meeting of the year. Taking the opportunity as host of this event, Mr François Davenne, UIC Director General, took part as well to debate the future of the stations and the working group: “railway stations are a very important part of the railway system”. Moreover, Mr Davenne highlight the need to deal with the green deal and modal shift in order to reduce the carbon footprint. Railway stations are the platform of economic, social and mobility interaction between the city and the rail transport, thus, the collaboration with the International Union of Public Transport (UITP) is required to develop a smooth intermodal shift based on the “Mobility as a Services” (MaaS) model.
After an overview of members’ perspective, UIC and members pointed out the crucial role of stations in the context of the open market which was debated for three hours during the quarterly debate of the working group. The Open Market of rail transport in Europe will considerably transform European railway stations for many reasons:
- Due to the multiplication of railway operators
- Requirement to offer a broad panel of services depending on operators’ expectations
- Influence of multicultural operators
- Impact on the space by the duplication of ticket vending machines, assistance desk, people with mobility services, waiting rooms, information display systems
The first objective of the open market is to attract more people to rail. To achieve this, stations must be ready to accommodate more passengers and users, which means finding concrete and effective solutions to the issue of capacity in a restricted environment.
The second part of the meeting was focused on the ongoing project “Long-Term Development of Railway Stations”. On this occasion, members discussed smart solutions for railway stations. The deliverable of this work package will be a website of a smart solutions catalogue where members can find solutions with the potential to solve issues. This library will be available for UIC members, station operators and private companies who want to propose their solutions (with restricted access). This platform, similar to the Rail Security Hub promoted by our colleagues of the Security Division, will offer new opportunities to members. This package is in collaboration with the Fundamental Values department (Security Division and Sustainable Unit) in order to integrate as much as possible an overview of societal and sustainable solutions.
The third work package of LTDRS concerns the Transit-Oriented Development. To manage his package, SNCF – Hubs & Connexion took the lead. According to the topic, SMGG and SNCF invited one student team from Paris Science Politique to present their approach about “Smart Transit-Oriented Development”.
The final work package, stations of the future, was debated as well to define the framework. The form of the package and the deliverable are not yet defined by the members.
The Station Managers Global Group recorded two very important decisions, the first concerns the frequency of the meeting. In order to set up a smooth collaboration with the members and improve the quality of its functions, a conference call will be organised between each physical meeting.
The second decision concerns the future of the sector. To better meet companies’ needs, members approved the launch of a process of restructuring. Thus, SMGG will be transformed to welcome more dedicated working groups to be compliant with the members’ daily station activities. Therefore, the new form of the sector will be proposed for approval by the Global Passenger Forum Steering Committee and for endorsement during the Global Passenger Forum Plenary Meeting in July.
UIC reiterates that no company has expressed any interest yet to host the 2021 UIC nextstation conference. This conference (https://nextstation.org/), fully dedicated to station matters, is a magnificent platform to interact with international experts from companies, industries and universities. Thus, any company who is interested in hosting the 8th conference is kindly invited to contact the UIC passenger department or the UIC communications department.