Potential impact of selected measures
Modal shift from road to the rail sector, mentioned in the White Paper on Transport  as well as other European and national policy papers, faces the challenge of providing the capacity for affordable and attractive services. The current European rail freight market is a complex system involving a great number of public and private stakeholders, such as infrastructure managers, rail operators, terminal operators and freight forwarders who jointly manage the operation of running trains from A to B. This complexity in the rail sector hampers the development of efficient and competitive rail freight services. Smart-Rail intends to contribute to the European policy targets by defining, implementing and monitoring new shipper-oriented rail freight concepts improving the competitive position of the rail sector in the Rhine-Alpine Corridor. In line with the Living Lab approach, the activities will start with simple measures and in next steps these will be more complex and cover a wider scope. Therefore, instead of analysing the full Rhine- Alpine corridor, in a first step, we focus on a part of this corridor: Rotterdam – Ruhr Area in Germany. In addition, the Smart-Rail project is aligned to the objectives of SHIFT²RAIL and its results will be used, in further, in this programme.
More specifically, the objectives of Smart-Rail are:
– to contribute to a mental shift of the rail sector toward a client and supply chain -oriented focus;
– to develop working business models for cooperation of different stakeholders;
– to develop a methodology and architecture for exchange of data/information required for the optimisation process, between stakeholders, making use of existing initiatives where available (for instance the European Corridor Management and national logistical information centres;
– to establish three Living Labs that each focus on different aspects and markets and develop tools, methodologies and concepts. The purpose of the Living Labs is to test, monitor and improve the innovative measures in real life conditions. Specific and more dedicated business models, information systems and new rail services will also be tested.
Central point of this Work Package is to improve flexibility and reliability in rail freight transport at competitive prices in line with the needs of the clients (shippers, logistic service providers) as in case of (un)expected disruptions on the rail network. Such improvement of the service, might agitate modal shift from road to rail.
Seven separate tasks are defined in the Description of Work (DoW) document to structure the work:
- Problem analysis and the selection of relevant measures. In this step background information of the current situation will be described. In addition measures will be selected and designed. The focus of this task is to outline the first design of the selected measures.
- Potential impact of measures for different stakeholders; This task will present the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used to monitor the impact of the measures on the corridor. A tool will be developed to show the quantitative impact in a fast and user friendly way. The tool in combination with stakeholder sessions will be used to raise awareness of and support for the implementation.
- Information exchange for necessary level of transparency; In this task, the necessary data transparency to improve flexibility and reliability will be analysed. In addition, the willingness to share data will be discussed with stakeholders.
- Alignment of value case for involved stakeholders that is needed for cooperation; Task 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3 will be consulted to determine business cases for measures and for different types of stakeholders on the Rail Freight Corridor.
- Implementation of measures and design of monitoring approach; Results from all previous tasks will be implemented in a living lab environment. Within this Living Lab, continuous improvement will be monitored via a plan, do, check & act cycle, using the KPIs as identified in task 8.2.
- Monitoring and adjustment of measures; The monitoring approach as developed will be used to continuously improve the measures taken on the corridor. Furthermore, additional measures might be implemented in this phase of the project.
- Conclusion and recommendations; A final assessment of the results in this Living Lab is made. Furthermore, recommendations will be made to ensure durability of the living lab and the replicability of the impact on other Rail Freight Corridors.
For a measure to be successfully implemented in the Living Lab environment it is important that the involved stakeholders cooperate. Cooperation between organisations does not come natural and requires that the meaning and potential impact of the measure is well understood. For individual stakeholders this means that the content, scope and advantages of the measure(s) are clear to them. Besides, it should be clear what kind of activities are expected from different stakeholders for a successful implementation of a measure.
Equally important is that involved stakeholders understand each other’s role in the railway chain and more specifically, for each measure. The role a stakeholder has in the railway chain can help understand its influence on certain processes as well as its interest in the potential impact of a measure or measures.
In sessions leading up towards the start of this Living Lab, involved stakeholders made it clear that there is no need for the development of a calculation tool to show the potential impact of measures to them. Instead they would like to start with activities towards implementation of the measures in the Living Lab environment. The Living Lab approach makes the practical impact of the measure to individual stakeholders most clear: learning by doing in practice.