As the UK government announced its decision on the awarding of the Intercity East Coast rail franchise on Thursday, the Transport Systems Catapult highlighted the importance of investing in technology and innovation to significantly improve the passenger experience.
The Transport Systems Catapult – the UK technology and innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility – welcomed the increased commitment to innovation the companies had to make in their franchise bids.
Steve Yianni, chief executive of the Transport Systems Catapult and former Technical Director for Network Rail said:
“If we are serious about improving people’s experience of train travel, we need to harness emerging technology to make journeys easier, faster, and cheaper. We are delighted that innovation is now an essential part of what companies include in bids to win rail franchises.”
“Imagine a smartphone app which tells you where vacant seats are on a train before you board, or an app which scours social media to identify potential delays and gives you options to avoid them before they happen. This kind of technology will transform how we travel.”
“We’re working with the Department for Transport to pioneer innovative new ways of using technology to make journeys much better for passengers – improving the availability of train information, using social media to understand their concerns, and designing smarter stations.”
The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) is supporting the Department for Transport (DfT) Rail Executive to increase the levels of innovation and intelligent mobility within the franchising system. This includes developing specific innovation requirements for prospective franchisees and creating a new Innovation Strategy to ensure that innovation remains a permanent priority within the franchise system.
Overall, the ‘Innovation in Rail Franchising programme’ aims to stimulate world-class innovation and promote the adoption of intelligent mobility within the rail industry.