SmartRail took place from 17 to 19 April 2018 at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam. The venue – a terminal building for ferry passengers – also serves as an event space and therefore made for an exciting location to host SmartRail 2018. The conference touched upon topics such as digital railways, rail freight, rail infrastructure, cybersecurity in the railway domain, and how to optimise investment and the customer experience, among many other topics. ERTICO’s Lina Konstantinopoulou and Piia Karjalainen were at SmartRail to speak about logistics and Mobility as a Service, respectively.

Lina Konstantinopoulou (Head of Transport and Logistics, Innovation and Deployment department at ERTICO) in the session “Overcoming IT challenges at national frontiers in a cross-border freight corridor” spoke about the AEOLIX data sharing network and its benefits to rail freight transport. Data sharing across the supply chain is expected to increase the reliability for both planned and unplanned disruptions and to enhance the visibility of the supply chain and especially for long distance rail freight transport. Services on top of AEOLIX are expected to provide information about the traffic conditions, available capacity, train composition and infrastructure characteristics and to give advice for the network dispatching system to obtain better line utilisation, based on existing applications and TAF TSI.

Piia Karjalainen (Senior Manager in the Clean & Urban Mobility unit and the Coordinator of the MaaS Alliance) moderated a session on “Innovation in Onboard Technology”, which focused on improving the customer experience through information systems, entertainment, and increased onboard security. This can all become a reality thanks to the Internet of Things.

Piia spoke more about the work of the MaaS Alliance in a session dedicated to Mobility as a Service (MaaS) on Wednesday afternoon. Her presentation focused on the success factors in MaaS implementations and explained how public authorities can create more intelligent transport networks. MaaS is all about openness – open data, open interfaces, and openly available information for end users to make the best informed decision about their travel. Overall, in the session there was a consensus that user needs and the ability to respond to them will determine the success of MaaS.

Alongside the work of the MaaS Alliance, the session also presented the MaaS initiatives of Microsoft, OSPT Alliance, Translink, SNCF, and the European Passengers’ Federation. Microsoft attracted the most attention, announcing their clear intention to become a part of the business ecosystem of MaaS and showcasing the benefits that operators using MaaS can benefit from, including reliability, connectivity and technological advancements.