Our Executive Director Carlo Borghini had a discussion with AKKA Technologies on a future mobility concept FLEXMOVE. The project investigates a possibility of allowing vehichles to move on rail tracks thanks to a special tyre-to-tracks technology. The concept could revitalize small railway lines which have progressively fallen out of use.
FLEXMOVE is a road-to-rail vehicle concept which is currently being developed by AKKA Technologies. At its core is an electric vehicle that can be driven like a normal car on the road, but which can also move on rail tracks thanks to a special tyre-to-tracks technology. On rail tracks, FLEXMOVE becomes fully autonomous, since it is much easier and safer to make a vehicle behave autonomously on rails than on open roads. With FLEXMOVE, passengers and freight can embark on a journey from the first to the final mile, without ever changing vehicle.
FLEXMOVE aims to revitalize small railway lines which have progressively fallen out of use in several countries in recent years, such as France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. The concept envisages a public fleet of vehicles (of different sizes and types) which anyone can book through a simple mobile app, therefore aiming to become a strong mobility-as-a-service solution. Electric by design (battery-powered), it avoids the investment in electrifying rail tracks. Overall, FLEXMOVE is tailored to small and regional railway lines where the average train occupancy rate hovers around 25%. As a means to close the gap between cities and rural areas, FLEXMOVE aims to provide the perfect complement to traditional train offerings and can work with both the rail operators as well as other mobility providers.