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Future of Railways

A recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlighted just how critical the railway industry is and is going to be in the near future. It also surfaced a few key recommendations which are very relevant to the work we’re doing in helping make railway operations run smoother, greener, and more profitably. In this article we want to share our thoughts on the emerging trends in the railway industry and the role AI technology solutions can play in helping move the industry forward. 

The Future of Railways is Bright

The IEA report points out the most critical factor driving growth of railways around the world is the fact that:

“Rail is the least emissions-intensive mode of passenger transport – its expansion in the Net Zero Scenario will help reduce overall emissions”

In other words, as the importance of alleviating the effects of climate change grows in importance, so will the importance of railways as a mode of moving people and goods around the world. In fact this trend is already on the way, exemplified by the fact that out of all the world’s metro networks a full 25% of them began operating in the last 5 years. 

The report also points out that governments are realizing the advantages of railways and are starting to allocate public funding to extend railway infrastructure. Importantly for our business, the funds are also directed to upgrade digital operations including software and equipment. It’s all a general move towards modernization and implementation of low carbon practices. 

How AI can play a role in modernizing and making railways more efficient?

While the IEA report does not specifically state the need to implement AI based solutions, to does put forth the following recommendation to the railway industry: 

Upgrade rolling stock, raise efficiency and enhance digital technologies

We agree with IEA’s assessment that the adoption of digital technologies, including AI, could optimize rail operations and integrate rail more comprehensively with other mobility services. Digital tools are essential for improving operational and energy efficiency, cutting costs and increasing revenues. 

We therefore see huge potential of AI-powered technologies being a critical part of the solution, and we’re excited about our own ZigRail solution being able to help in this respect. Specifically ZigRail addresses the issues of: 

  • Optimizing Operations – ZigRail utilizes AI technologies that empower railway operators to implement automation and eliminate the need for human labor.
  • Reducing Energy and Making Continuous Improvements Possible – ZigRail’s analytics give managers the visibility and insights of their entire railway fleet, helping them make the right decisions as they implement future changes for their operations. 

We’re looking forward to seeing railways thrive in the world of tomorrow and we look forward in helping shape it into a greener and profitable mobility solution.