FOSTER-RAIL – with a duration of 3 years – addresses the broad support challenges of SST.2013.6-1. Strengthening the research and innovation strategies of the transport industries in Europe. This Research action is a Level 1 Coordination and Support Action aiming at supporting the land transport European Technology Platforms activities.


FOSTER-RAIL shall build on ERRAC-ROADMAP and continue to support and enhance cooperation between stakeholders, including decision-makers, and enhanced definition of strategic research and innovation needs. This action will assist ERRAC and the other transport-related European technology platforms (ETP) in defining research needs for their strategies and programmes in order to realise the objectives of the Europe-2020 strategy and further on the vision of the White Paper 2011 for a competitive and resource-efficient future transport system. This will be done in consultation with the European Commission (EC) and Member States and Associated States (MS/AS).


Previously, ERRAC-ROADMAP has demonstrated that partners of the project are able to define the real research needs of the rail sector and can produce rail research and innovation priorities that solve on one hand business needs and on the other hand provide innovative solutions to address political targets defined in Horizon 2020 and in the European flagship initiatives. It is expected that targeted research and innovation cooperation following these priorities will lead to real implementation and market uptake and pave the way towards a future green, smart and integrated European mobility and transportation system.

Rail has a pivotal role in delivering a competitive and environmentally-friendly transport system, furthering economic growth, enhancing personal mobility and supporting social cohesion. The rail system needs to adapt further to enable modal shift from road to rail, rail becoming the preferred mode of choice, consistently.


A strong European railway system and market is one key to a sustainable mobility in a low-carbon society. If railways in Europe are especially to meet the grand challenges and the respective objectives for the transportation sector in the European Commission’s 2011 Transport White Paper, there has to be adequate investment in targeted research and innovation.  FOSTER-RAIL will guide the rail research and innovation arena in order to provide rail technology options that are reliable, environmentally friendly, efficient and economic as service to customers and serve long-term to the transformation to a European and global transport system complying to climate emission reduction targets for the transport sector as for other environmental, economic and societal sustainability targets.  Ensuring the relevance and applicability of the rail research activities requires effective support to prioritise innovative methodologies and technologies for more competitive rail transport operations.


This project is an essential support tool to provide a relevant update of the Strategic Rail Research and Innovation Agenda. The previous SRRAs produced by ERRAC were based on business scenarios targeting a Horizon 2020. These scenarios have been produced in 2002 and 2007. They are partially outdated and they need to be revised, by taking also into account next to a mid-term projection a long-term horizon 2050. A preliminary update of the vision was published by ERRAC in 2011, with the document “Rail Route 2050: the sustainable backbone of the Single European Transport Area”. This document will be one of the main background document used in the project.

Therefore FOSTER-RAIL will develop next to refining and complementing its mid-term projections up to 2020 and beyond a vision for rail futures in 2050 Railway Scenarios for 2050 will be developed and potential routes towards this far-horizon futures anticipated. Scenarios and routes will give reference for research setting and multiannual technology roadmaps to be developed in this timeframe.