is a JU (Joint Undertaking) putting together resources from the European Commission (with funds coming from Horizon 2020) and from main railway stakeholders (Founding Members and Associated Members), for a total budget of € 940 million, aimed at steering research activities in the railway sector.
Rising traffic demand, congestion, security of energy supply, and climate change are some of the major issues that the European Union and the wider world are facing. Tackling these challenges call for the railway sector to take on a larger share of transport demand in the next few decades.
The European Commission is working towards the creation of a Single European Railway Area (SERA), and has promoted a modal shift from road to rail in order to achieve a more competitive and resource-efficient European transport system. However, rail’s share in the European freight and passenger transport markets is still not satisfactory. EU research and innovation (R&I) therefore helps rail to play a new, broader role in global transport markets, both by addressing pressing short-term problems that drain rail business operations, and by helping the sector to gain a stronger market position.
Shift2Rail fosters the introduction of better trains to the market (quieter, more comfortable, more dependable, etc.), which operate on an innovative rail network infrastructure reliably from the first day of service introduction, at a lower life-cycle cost, with more capacity to cope with growing passenger and freight mobility demand. All this are developed by European companies, thereby increasing their competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Shift2Rail also contributes to the paradigm for the modal shift to attract users to rail. For EU passengers, this represents more travel options, more comfort and improved punctuality. For freight forwarder/shippers, rail freight offers a more cost-effective, punctual and traceable shipment option.
OptiYard specifically falls under Innovation Programme (IP) 5 – Technologies for Sustainable & Attractive European Rail Freight.
Collaboration and Positioning of OptiYard
OptiYard will focus on lower Technology Readiness Level (TRL) development, up to TRL4, and by the end of the project will be ready to deliver outputs to rail industry partners who are better placed to take these forward to higher TRL demonstration, and then to deployment.
The intention is to deliver outputs at this level to be taken forward in the project addressing Shift2Rail members only call S2R-CFM-IP5-01-2011, “Startup activities for freight automation”. Several of the partners in this call already work with S2R members (see related projects list), and a good working relationship is foreseen to enable transfer of outputs to S2R-CFM-IP5-01-2011. The project is therefore not limited to report format deliverables or article publication, but will contribute directly to the S2R Technology Demonstrators TD5.2. Figure 4 illustrates the relations of the TRL levels (and GoAs) between related projects.
Specifically, a collaboration agreement is in the works with the CFM Project FR8HUB (https://shift2rail.org/cfm/fr8hub/).