Digital automatic coupling (DAC) is one of the key elements for transformation of the European rail freight sector. The DAC will increase productivity, efficiency and service quality, either directly or as an enabler, thereby increasing competitiveness. Together with smart capacity increases, DAC will be a game changer in shifting more freight traffic to the European rail system, facilitating the Green Deal, improving workers’ safety and creating value for Europe.

It is an opportunity to share insights on current project development. In relation to use case definition, the programme managers stress that functionality is being enabled by DAC and additional automation components for which R&D is still necessary, perhaps best placed in the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking. They also emphasise the need for strong RU engagement, particularly for current activities relating to the cost-benefit analysis and migration where COO support is needed. Europe’s full range of digital rail freight operations can only be achieved through implementation of DAC.