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The Rail Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is partnering with the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and Deakin University to develop a Smart Rail Route Map for Australia’s rail industry.

The $550,000 project ($200,000 in cash funding from Rail Manufacturing CRC and ARA, and $350,000 in in-kind contributions) will identify a long term vision for technology in the rail industry over the next 30 years through the establishment of a common view of priorities, themes, timelines and actions.

“The Smart Rail Route Map will help our industry to realise the vision of a national approach to rail technology, bringing economies of scale, support interoperability and many other efficiencies,” shared Danny Broad, ARA’s CEO.

The Deakin University project team, led by Professor Douglas Creighton from Deakin’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation, will provide expertise in Systems Mapping when workshopping, developing and modelling this project’s outputs.

“The project team is collaborating directly with a newly established steering committee, made up of representatives across the Australian rail industry, to define industry goals, map the key challenges for the rail sector over the next 30 years relating to technology disruption, and identify focus area objectives and initiatives,” said Prof Creighton.

The Rail Manufacturing CRC is responsible for identifying and funding innovative rail research that benefits the Australian rail industry, as clearly highlighted by this project.

“The Smart Rail Route Map will translate ideas and data into a meaningful direction for how the Australian rail industry can leverage technology in the coming decades. The Rail Manufacturing CRC looks forward to working with the ARA and Deakin University to see tangible collaborative opportunities identified,” said Dr Stuart Thomson.

The Smart Rail Route Map will be technology-neutral, and communicate the detail in a non-technical manner. The project outputs will be owned by the Australian rail industry and will be used to support the introduction of new technologies and services efficiently and cost-effectively.

Following an initial Smart Rail Industry workshop held in Melbourne in April, the steering committee and various industry participants have partaken in four mini-workshops to discuss the map’s key focus areas – Customer Service (Passenger), Customer Service (Freight), Traffic and Network Management, and High Performance Rail.

The Smart Rail Route Map will be front and centre at the 2018 Telecommunication and Technology Forum, to be hosted by the ARA in Melbourne on 30 October 2018.

The forum will promote active discussion and debate to confirm and refine potential telecommunications and technology initiatives and provide a coordinated industry focus to the adoption and deployment of Telecommunications and Technology based systems.

The project is expected for completion by 31 December 2018.

/ends 11 July 2018

About the Rail Manufacturing CRC
The Rail Manufacturing CRC was established in 2014 and will operate for a period of six years, funded by the Business Cooperative Research Centres Programme of the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The Rail Manufacturing CRC fosters, sponsors and directs collaborative innovative research and commercialisation partnerships between key stakeholders in the rail manufacturing sector, looking to support the development of new products, technologies and supply chain networks to increase Australia’s rail manufacturing capacity and competitiveness.

About the Australasian Railway Association
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is the peak body for rail in Australia, representing all sectors of the rail industry. We represent an array of rail organisations, including private and public, passenger and freight operators, track owners and managers, manufacturers of rolling stock, construction companies and all other organisations supplying and contributing to the Australasian rail sector.

About Deakin University
Deakin, named after Australia’s second Prime Minister, is a young contemporary university with a reputation for being innovative, nimble and friendly. We aspire every day to combine excellent research and outstanding teaching with a strong focus on the communities we serve. Deakin is ranked in the top 2 per cent of the world’s universities in each of the major rankings, and ranking 213 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). Deakin researchers are making a difference through world-class research and innovation. Deakin has a strong sense of community and serves as an economic, social and cultural catalyst enriching each of the communities it serves.

Today’s Research Hub announcement by Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) has been welcomed by the rail sector as an exemplar of research collaboration between government, the tertiary sector and industry.

“The Research Hub is a much welcomed initiative for the rail industry. With NSW’s population growing by over 12 million by 2056, it is important that government’s collaborate with the tertiary sector and industry to address future transport solutions,” said Danny Broad, Chief Executive Officer, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA).

“We are on the cusp of an era that will see mobility revolutionised across the nation. Rail will play a significant, central role in this, relieving congestion, reducing harmful emissions and contributing to improved, safer connectivity in our cities and in our regions.

“TfNSW has created a hub which combines the research resources of various institutions to generate greater heft behind the implementation of innovative ideas in the transport sector.

“The Hub should help avoid unnecessary duplication of research effort and facilitate the coordination of research activities to drive a leading edge approach to mobility.

“The ARA congratulates TfNSW on this initiative and looks forward to working with the NSW Government and the tertiary sector to ensure the rail industry maximises outcomes under this initiative for the betterment of our customers.

“The Research Hub is an exemplar for other states to follow and the rail sector sees this as an initiative that could be cross-pollinated across all Australian jurisdictions,” concluded Danny Broad.

The NSW Government’s 2018-19 Budget reinforces the momentum in rail investment across the country and recognises the intensifying importance that must be placed on rail as an integral mode of transport as part of a highly effective transport system.

“The allocation of an initial commitment of $3 billion towards Metro West, with a total of $4.3 billion for the Sydney Metro network, including $1.9 billion towards building Sydney Metro City and Southwest and $2.4 billion to complete Sydney Metro Northwest, are all exemplars of a government who is committed to recognising the integral role that rail plays as part of a transport solution,” said Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association (ARA).

“The rail industry is also pleased to hear that $258 million will be contributed towards the construction of Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 and $110 million towards delivering Newcastle Light Rail.

“The facts don’t lie – The benefits of rail are considerable in relieving congestion, a single train is estimated to replace up to 800 cars during peak hour. Rail also improves the environmental impacts that comes as rail replaces the over use of roads, for example carbon emissions are 40% higher on road than rail per kilometre travelled. Rail also has the capacity to move millions of commuters on a daily basis and to build on the efficiencies that flow from improved freight access to our markets.

“We also welcome funds allocated to freight rail initiatives through the $87 million Freight Rail infrastructure upgrades, including the Fixing Country Rail program which aims to improve rail infrastructure and eliminates bottlenecks affecting regional freight services.

“The NSW Government’s 2018-19 Budget is an important step in continuing rail as a centre piece in transport solutions for the NSW economy,” Danny Broad concluded.