The ERRAC Roadmap CSA clearly addresses both the clusters set by the SRRA as well as the five ’activities’ reflecting the strategic and policy challenged facing Europe, as defined by the European Commission for the FP7 ’Transport’ theme.

The general framework of the activities for the next financed years is organised under the following working groups and with a clear defined involvement by the rail stakeholders and the participation to the working group is open to any expert:

Rail transport has the capability to play a key role in a sustainable transport system by offering efficient services with low environmental impact, and these strengths need to be articulated in the political decision-making process. Through the use of mechanisms such as fairer pricing and the internalising of external costs, modal shift to rail and innovative co-modality concepts become more achievable and offer sustainable solutions for the various challenges in the transport sector. The promotion of environmentally adapted and efficient rail transport of passengers and goods is a key objective in Europe. The overall environmental performance of railway transportation is affected by contributions over the whole life cycle of the vehicles; from production, operational performance to final disposal. When designing a vehicle for improved environmental performance many different aspects which are related to environmental impact are taken into account. Today’s energy and environmental research places high emphasis on energy efficiency, environmental impact, alternative energy sources to be prepared for the reduced availability and finally disappearing of fossil fuels. Energy resources are getting scarce and legislation on emissions is getting stricter. Even though the railway is the most energy-efficient and green transport mode, research is needed on energy efficiency and eco-design to further improve the performance of rail. Noise and vibration have to be considered in a system and holistic approach to reduce emissions and external perceived noise levels. A lot has been done but research efforts should go on: reducing noise from individual sources (freight trains, noise, emission reductions from diesel engines on trains, etc.), and introducing technologies for active noise and vibration control. Software tools will assist the development of methods to reduce noise at source, to derive technologies and to enhance system assessment and decision-making processes. Becoming greener means that we have to consider the overall railway life cycle and especially the elimination of materials with a negative environmental impact. Measures to consider include closed cycle waste management systems for a high level of recycling, dealing with the historical legacy of existing infrastructure (e.g. creosote sleepers), promoting greener land use by reducing pollution from rail sources (e.g. chemical treatment against vegetation) and reducing the emissions of electromagnetic waves. Sustainable procurement means careful consideration of environmental and societal aspects as well as the economic aspects when carrying out the investment process. Finally, it is important to note that railways are also affected by the environment, in addition to having effects on the environment. Over time, the way that railways manage natural hazards and weather events will change due to the impact of climate change.
Work Package 2 identifies and proposes research that supports seamless door to door transport for people with focus on long distance rail services and its interfaces with urban transport systems or other means of transport, as well as effective door to door logistical solutions. Based on the current position of the rail business and where it wants to be in the future, 2020/30 market needs based research gaps will be identified in a roadmap. The roadmap is the steering mechanism towards the stated future objectives. These research gaps will be processed in the form of topics and proposed by ERRAC to the commission as suitable candidate topics for calls in the FP7. WP2 focuses on making rail more easily accessible for all passengers. This may be in the form of better information/ticketing systems, service concepts and capacity management which allows for reliable punctual services at competitive prices and travel times. In terms of rail freight, the focus is on identifying research that can promote efficient supply chains that are more flexible in responding to customer demands. This will include items such as tracking and tracing of goods, interoperable information systems and developments that enable rail freight able to blend with passenger traffic. Technical topics that relate to development of rolling stock and infrastructure are dealt with in other work packages.
Efficient urban, suburban and regional transport systems are critical elements of the sustainable development of urban areas, where some 80% of Europe’s citizens live. Urban public transport and especially rail systems have numerous advantages, which shall never be shared by private car transport in terms of e.g. speed, capacity, safety, environmental friendliness, energy savings and urban space consumption. At the same time, car ownership and car use is increasing every day due to a great variety of attractive technical innovations which are easy to standardise and to implement on private vehicles and on roads or streets in comparison to rail systems. Local public transport systems and especially (sub)urban rail systems are indeed far more complex technically than road systems and they involve for their management many more (public) stakeholders than private or commercial vehicles traffic management. In addition, local public transport services are operated under public transport contracts following public service requirements, which represent a heavy financial burden on local authorities for public transport services financing and public transport systems –and especially rail- funding as long as negative external costs of motorised road vehicle are not internalised. As a consequence public transport and (sub)urban rail will not be able to compete with private cars without an important improvement of public transport attractiveness, and a reduction in investment and operating costs. This implies an important investment in local rail and in urban mobility research, a strong support from public authorities, and an agreement between local/regional/national public authorities, public transport and especially rail operators, and railway manufacturers to coordinate across Europe for technical harmonisation of products and services where it allows to bring European added value. This is the major challenge of WP3. At the same time, focusing on rail, the European manufacturing industry is a world leader for urban rail systems (metro, tramway and light rail) and has achieved significant innovation for the benefit of the customer (e.g. low floor tram), but has to remain competitive for most promising markets in Europe and outside Europe, especially in China and other Asian markets.
The final scope of the present work package is to enhance awareness and perform actions along certain key issues which have been regarded as strategic to improve safety and security in the railway sector. The roadmapping work of this WP takes into account the protection of vulnerable persons, such as train drivers, passengers, train-crew, track workers, shunting personnel, and pedestrians advanced engineering systems and risk analysis methodologies for the design and operation of vehicles and infrastructure will also be considered of specific importance. There will also be integrated approaches linking human elements, structural integrity, preventive, passive and active safety including monitoring systems, rescue and crisis management. Safety will be considered as an inherent component of the rail transport system relating to infrastructure, freight (goods and containers), transport users and operators, rolling stock as well as measures at policy and legislative levels, including decision support and validation tools. Security will be addressed wherever it is an inherent requirement to the transport system. An additional point of attention will be the protection of vulnerable locations on the network, as well as signalling equipment, critical junctions, bridges etc.
The scope of ERRAC WP5 is to identify the key barriers to innovation and to strengthen competition within the railway sector and improve the competitiveness of rail against other transport modes, but reducing cost and increasing customer satisfaction. The working group participated in workshops to identify the breakdown of the European railway costs, and to assess the options to optimise whole life costs for the whole railway, including the identification and assessment of incentives between the operators and infrastructure managers. Work Package 5 also mapped the technologies required for advanced industrial processes for manufacturing, assembly, construction and maintenance to reduce life cycle costs, improve development and reduce lead times of rolling stock and infrastructure. Consideration was paid to railway organisation and structure, including supply chain management and the costs and barriers presented by supply contracts.
The overall scope of the WP6 Evaluation Working Group, within the ERRAC ROADMAP Project, is to bring forward and enhance the work done in providing essential information and tools on the lessons learnt from the evaluation of past projects, to allow relevant rail related stakeholders and roadmap producers to make better choices and decisions, to achieve a more effective and measureable success of future rail research projects, both in terms of a systemic-oriented use of resources and in terms of concrete outcomes and real market uptake, for the future evolution of the rail industry. During the past years, a great number of rail research projects have been funded by the European Commission in previous Framework Programmes and millions of Euros have been spent to this end. Yet it has not been easy to gain full awareness of all the relevant research that has been carried out. Valuable research results are often lost and the risk of overlappings and/or of generating redundant rail project initiatives is significant. A good process of thinking in advance, based on lessons learnt from other projects, can lead to a much better focus to help devise new rail research projects that can guarantee concrete market uptake, offering widely acknowledged improvements and solutions for the future rail industry and market in general.