This strategic question was raised at the first RSF Plenary Session meeting in the early days of the new established Rail System Forum. The members requested UIC to draft a strategy programme outlining the major challenges to be expected and to guide the sector into a common prosperous future.
UIC recently delivered this document, approved and published as “RSF Outlook & Vision”, and entrusts its members with this handbook, allowing them to set up and prioritise the UIC Rail System Forum’s annual and multi-annual work programmes.
The railway system as a whole – mainly comprising infrastructure, rolling stock and operation – will be challenged by various factors in the future. These challenges range from new and diverging society and changing customer needs to climate change among others and are to be regarded as the basis for a to-do list.
Ensuring the railway system is reliable, available, maintainable and safe for tomorrow’s customers, this programme provides a road-map for the first steps to develop the system until 2030. It is intended to provide a holistic view to these challenges by seeking case-by-case solutions through the introduction of performance indicators and evaluation criteria. The main purpose of the railway sector is to shift more passengers and goods from other modes of transport to the rail sector and increase the overall attractiveness in terms of comfort, availability reliability, safety and security. The rail system as an entity aims at finding the right technical solutions in cooperation with other partners in this business to develop a strong market position for railways in future.
The strategic programme further aims at drawing the frame for potential standardisation in the railway sector by indicating future standardisation needs. It can be further used as input for setting up R&D work programmes either within the RSF, with other UIC forums and platforms or in ERRAC together with other partners from the railway business (e.g. UNIFE and its members).
The strategic view set out in this document is to be regarded as evolving with the constantly changing railway sector and its customers’ and stakeholders changing needs and demands.