Synergies between Europe’s Rail and SatNav Programs Can Make Rail Travel Affordable

March 28, 2014  - By
Image: GPS World

Cost-effective synergies between the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and satellite technologies such as Galileo can make rail transport more efficient and reliable, agreed European authorities in February at a Rail Forum Europe dinner in Brussels. But while the technology is now available, its implementation pace is still too slow due to the long term return on investment.

Francesco Rispoli, manager of satellite technologies at Ansaldo STS, an Italian provider of rail-traffic management, planning, train control and signalling systems, stressed that satellite technology can improve the penetration of ERTMS in the worldwide market as well as on European local and low-traffic lines. He predicted that further synergies will be developed on the SHIFT²RAIL initiative: “EGNOS and Galileo are key enabling technologies for a market-driven step change in the rail sector” he concluded. In that light, Ansaldo STS is developing an open platform to allow the ERTMS to fully exploit EGNOS and Galileo.

Olivier Onidi, director for Innovative and Sustainable Mobility at the EC’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), highlighted the role of ERTMS in achieving an interoperable Single European Railway Area. “2014 is a key year in terms of innovation for the rail sector. Major progress is expected on ERTMS, Galileo, and SHIFT2RAIL”.

SHIFT²RAIL is a European technology initiative  seeking to double the capacity of the European rail system, increase its reliability and service quality by 50 percent ,and cut lifecycle costs in half.

Carlo des Dorides, executive director of the European GNSS Agency, applauded the ERTMS Memorandum of Understanding envisaging the future use of EGNOS and Galileo to improve the competitiveness of train control systems. “There are signs that GNSS will be adopted globally as in the aviation sector. In this scenario, Europe now has the opportunity to exploit the synergy between ERTMS and GNSS.”

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