DfT paper urges policy and programme commitments for digital railway signalling

Written by Sam Trendall on 19 December 2017 in News
News

Report acknowledges numerous ‘false starts’ in the past but sets out eight recommendations to ensure digital is placed at the heart of the railway of the future

Credit: Uwe Zucchi/DPA/PA Images

A Department for Transport-issued report has urged the government to commit to creating policy and undertaking programmes to support the rollout of digital railway signalling. 

The DfT’s ministerial group for digital railway, which features expert representatives from the public and private sectors, has published a paper making a series of recommendations for policy and programme initiatives. The report acknowledges that the complexities of the rail sector hav meant that, to date, “there have been a number of false starts to the implementation of innovative signalling and train-regulation technology”.


Related content


The paper adds: “The use of digital solutions will, increasingly, be at the centre of a modern and efficient railway, and this will support economic growth and productivity, improve connectivity, and help people to get around more quickly and safely. The current traditional signalling infrastructure is gradually becoming life-expired, with an ever-increasing backlog of renewals and a greater risk of failures and resulting delays.”

To help support the implementation of new digital signalling technologies across the country, the report makes eight recommendations for government and industry:

1) The government “should publish a clear statement of policy for the delivery of digital signalling”, including an articulation of the benefits for train companies and their customers.

2) Government should work with commercial partners to promote and foster digital skills and awareness of technology across the rail sector.

3) Network Rail “should find ways to open up its supplier base to a wider range of organisations”, while government should propose ways to help the publicly owned company increase the speed with which it is able to adopt new technologies.

4) The government and Network Rail should work together “to encourage alternative models of funding, financing, and delivery” for rail projects, and include investors much earlier in planning discussions.

5) A programme for delivering digital signalling should be developed by government. This should give industry partners compelling incentives, while ensuring they are held accountable for any failures to deliver.

6) In the name of building “an approach to delivery that is sustainable and affordable”, Network Rail should ensure it collaborates effectively with all forms of industry partner, including private companies, their individual employees, the investor community, and trade unions.

7) The programme for the nationwide delivery of digital signalling should include incremental goals, including some “early quick wins, which build upon lessons learnt from previous deployments”.

8) The government and Network Rail should jointly develop “an appropriate governance structure for the digital railway programme… [with] clarity of roles’ responsibilities and accountabilities”.

The digital railway ministerial group was formed just over a year ago to advise the DfT on digital signalling and the wider use of technology in the rail industry. Its members include David Waboso, Network Rail’s digital rail group managing director, National Infrastructure Commission deputy chair Sir John Armitt, and Cisco UK and Ireland chief technology officer Dr Alison Vincent. 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

The pandemic has exposed the government’s broken digital promises
9 February 2021

While other countries adapted seamlessly to digital doctors' consultations and online teaching, coronavirus showed how little progress the UK has really made, believes Jack Perschke of netcompany...

Government can no longer afford to shy away from tackling legacy IT
29 January 2021

Now is the time for government to confront a tricky and long-standing issue, according to Eleonora Harwich of Reform

Related Sponsored Articles

How digital is helping Defence Medical Services re-imagine HM Armed Forces healthcare
3 February 2021

Defence Medical Services (DMS) is pursuing ground-breaking digital, data and technology transformation which will revolutionise Tri-Service healthcare provision to over 135,000 Armed...

How Your Privacy Program is a Competitive Differentiator
29 January 2021

OneTrust presents the reasons why your organisation should invest in privacy management - and offers three easy tips for getting started 

Email security incidents happen every 12 hours – it’s time to close the gap in Microsoft 365
21 January 2021

The remote-first world has seen email being relied on more than ever as a core communication mechanism - but with 93% of IT leaders acknowledging a risk to sensitive data, what steps should be...

Are You Ready for the Future of Cyber Security?
15 January 2021

2020 was a cyber security wake up call for many organisations. Attempting to provide secure remote access and device flexibility quickly exposed the flaws in legacy systems and processes. As we...