Disruptive innovations, increasingly present in the transport sector, are innovations not limited to the common, incremental change and introduction of new technologies. These innovations not only slightly improve, for example, the efficiency of the system components, but also create new markets, introduce new business models and change the value network and eventually disrupt the existing ecosystems.
The activities across S2R innovation programmes are developing the fundamental building blocks to allow the creation of interoperable solutions providing practical answers to the challenges highlighted in the S2R Master Plan and a contribute towards the achievement of the programme objectives. However, the research advances in the recent years require to seize the new potential of disruptive technologies to the railway capabilities. Another challenge is the nature of the development approach in today’s rail, which builds upon national-specific operational rules, leading to suboptimal integration. The rail sector users and stakeholder demand a shared vision the on future rail, managing a complex system of system with an integrated user-oriented approach.
In IPX there are forward looking activities, tackling disruptive technologies or thinking and performing exploratory research, which will accelerate the pace towards radical system innovation.
The activities in IPX will set the basis for an integrated system approach, recognizing the nature of system of systems to be tackled in its integrity to deliver the transformational changes enabled by digitalisation and automation: it requires a holistic understanding and the interaction of vehicle / infrastructure / operations and processes / staff / users / regulation and standards. It requires also the management of interfaces with other modes, as well as with the more specific urban environment, where urban rail constitutes a key element.
In order for the running S2R projects to implement the new rail Functional System Architecture, the JU established a renewed Programme Governance and Change Management. IPX will work in conjunction with all IPs and CCA and liaise with the ED Programme Board to streamline the change management within the running projects, ensuring the latter follow well evaluated business cases for all relevant stakeholders. A consistent steering of the implementing project will be coherent with the integrated system approach, considering that each single innovative solution will affect the rail system as a whole.
This approach will also enable a new set of business cases and potentially new services implementing a new system of system architecture and a new way of sharing data, thus leading to increased benefits and performance that would potentially override any concerns on migration costs.
Nevertheless, the ambition of IPX includes also monitoring the evolution beyond the rail sector and tackle how this entirely new way of product development could be introduced and embraced in rail. The projects in this innovation programme therefore focus on exploratory research and study the ways disruptive innovations, such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, etc., can be embedded in the rail sector. This research has the objective to ensure the innovation to foster and, secondly, ensure all aspects of introducing such innovations in rail are considered in order to fully reap its benefits. With the initial focus on digitalisation of rail services, operations and production, and on technologies impacting automation systems (“train-centric”) and maintenance concepts, IPX also started to work on a common vision for a rail Functional System Architecture and a Conceptual Data Model (CDM), introducing a structured approach to the functional digital transformation of the railway systems in its component.
Finally, IPX is expanding to look at synergies with non-traditional and/or emerging new modes of transport, such as hyperloop.