The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has launched its Smart Rail Route Map Interim Report at the AusRail 2018 Conference and Exhibition.

The report identifies a long-term common view of priorities, themes, timelines and actions to support the successful deployment of digital and telecommunication technologies within the rail sector.

Produced in collaboration with industry, and supported by the Rail Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and Deakin University, the Interim Report provides a 30-year guide for helping the rail industry plan for the rapidly changing technology landscape.

The Route Map sets out the long-term, coordinated and strategic direction to support the adoption and deployment of telecommunications and technology-based systems within the rail sector that are more flexible, connected and interoperable.

ARA CEO, Danny Broad, said, “With the technological revolution surging around the globe, it is difficult to predict how rail systems will look in 30 years’ time. We can, however, prepare for these changes by providing an overarching framework through which the next generation of rail technologies can be deployed, supported and integrated.

“Inherent in this is an understanding of the risks and obstacles that are likely to emerge. In a changing technological paradigm, Smart Rail provides a framework in relation to standardisation, integration and harmonisation.

“Smart Rail was developed by industry, for industry, with over 250 industry representatives involved in its creation. It has been fantastic to witness the high level of industry engagement.”

The Smart Rail Route Map includes ten priority actions and initiatives grouped into four focus areas:

  • Passenger Customer Experience
  • Freight Customer Experience
  • Traffic and Network Management and High performance Railways
  • 12 longer-term initiatives

Professor Douglas Creighton, from Deakin’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation, said, “The Route Map is a technology neutral framework communicated in a non-technical manner and owned by industry. It defines the rail industry direction, development initiatives and research programs for integration and support of next-generation digital and telecommunications technologies in Australia and New Zealand rail environment.”

Dr Stuart Thomson, Chief Executive Officer, Rail Manufacturing CRC, said, “The key to Smart Rail is that it is an industry-led initiative involving a large cross section of the rail sector. Collaboration of this kind is the first step to ensure the outcomes of Smart Rail are implemented and will add value to Australasia’s rail industry.”

Deakin University has brought its systems modelling approach to this work, while the Rail Manufacturing CRC is providing funding under the government’s Business Cooperative Research Centres Program.

The ARA will be establishing an executive management committee to drive this important initiative forward.

A copy of the interim report can be downloaded at


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