Mission and Objectives

What are the challenges?

Rising traffic demand, congestion, security of energy supply, and climate change are some of the major issues that the European Union and the wider world are facing. Tackling these challenges will call for the railway sector to take on a larger share of transport demand in the next few decades.

The European Commission is working towards the creation of a Single European Railway Area (SERA), and has promoted a modal shift from road to rail in order to achieve a more competitive and resource-efficient European transport system. However, rail’s share in the European freight and passenger transport markets is still not satisfactory. EU research and innovation (R&I) must therefore help rail play a new, broader role in global transport markets, both by addressing pressing short-term problems that drain rail business operations, and by helping the sector to gain a stronger market position.

What results and benefits are expected?

Shift2Rail will foster the introduction of better trains to the market (quieter, more comfortable, more dependable, etc.), which will operate on an innovative rail network infrastructure reliably from the first day of service introduction, at a lower life-cycle cost, with more capacity to cope with growing passenger and freight mobility demand. All this will be developed by European companies, thereby increasing their competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Shift2Rail will also contribute to the paradigm for the modal shift to attract users to rail. For EU passengers, this represents more travel options, more comfort and improved punctuality. For freight forwarder/shippers, rail freight will offer a more cost-effective, punctual and traceable shipment option.

Shift2Rail will contribute to:

  • Cutting the life-cycle cost of railway transports by as much as 50%
  • Doubling railway capacity
  • Increasing reliability and punctuality by as much as 50%
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