COP22 has just opened in Morocco, 197 countries are now expected to give deeper information on how they intend to achieve engagements that have been drawn in Paris last year. The awareness that the world must change its energy consumption has put transportation systems into the spotlight. Public transportation will be a major area that would contribute to providing impact on the environment in a positive manner. In order to achieve this goal, existing infrastructures must be used more efficiently, while new transport capacities must be developed, with a view to addressing major issues.

 
The first issue that has to be addressed is the improvement of the user experience, with more connected and smarter infrastructures. Our relationship with time and travel has changed; users expect persistent connectivity and want to optimise their time when traveling, in that respect, personal cars are no longer the solution. Intermodality is the solution, as it allows us to travel more efficiently. Railway stations need to become fully-fledged multimodal hubs and provide access to a broad range of services so that travellers can make the most of their transit time. Similarly, they need full information in real time on all means of transport available.

 

The second issue is to offer a higher and higher level safety and security, as our society tolerance to risk is getting close to zero. The increase in rail traffic is accompanied by concern for the conditions under which trains operate and how to ensure that whatever the event, the system continues to function correctly. This proves complex to achieve as transportation systems must be interconnected. Systems also need to be protected from malicious attacks, breaking into a computer system that controls critical transportation functions having potential disastrous consequences.

 

These issues need to be addressed while ensuring that, whatever the project, whether it is the renovation of an existing system or the creation of a new one, planning and budget are strictly respected.

 

Consequently, the transportation sector has in the past years shown major evolutions. New players have entered the market, all the more as infrastructures are not solely about ‘concrete’ anymore but about complex connected infrastructures. They encompass digital technologies, embedded systems, connectivity and design creativity. In order to support transportation operators through these new challenges, engineering companies now need to put forward two key expertise: managing complex projects while having strong know-how in systems engineering.

 

We shall investigate these two challenges in coming articles. To be followed !