The rail industry is set to face new challenges in the coming years, with critical changes expected from movements such as the liberalisation of the European rail network with the Fourth Railway Package.

As the number of rail passengers continues to grow and with the opening up of competition within the industry, investment in the right technology can help create conditions ideal for future innovation and improvement to the passenger experience. Investment in cloud technology will help to combat the new and present challenges impacting the rail industry and as we have seen in recent years, this technology has already had a positive impact on rail operations.

Helping rail retain its green status 

It is widely understood that rail is by far the most environmentally-friendly way to travel, and as discussions around the impact of climate change continue to dominate the media agenda, more passengers and operators are aware of the rail industry leading the charge.

However, if rail is to retain this status, it should embrace green technology across all areas of the industry. Initiatives such as ticketless travel; increasing adoption of electric trains; optimizing rail operations through greater insight into capacity versus demands can all contribute towards reducing rail’s environmental impact.

At Amadeus, we believe carbon reporting can be a differentiating factor when choosing a mode of travel. Given rail’s status, carbon reporting should be the next step for the industry. It is our ambition to move towards a future where every rail journey includes both the price of a journey and its carbon costs.

Improving the passenger experience

As rail passenger numbers increase, and as digital technology continues to impact the industry, customer expectations across travel has changed. Passengers want a rail experience that is personalized, comfortable and easy to shop for. The industry is trying to meet these demands, with the aim of deregulation to provide wider choice, cheaper fares and improved quality of travel.

Rail is moving towards a more traveller-centric approach and utilising technological innovation such as cloud-based technology infrastructure to help achieve this. The cloud provides rail companies with greater flexibility and agility in how they operate business. At the same time, it can allow them to more easily adopt new ways of interacting with travellers, whether that is through their mobile application, website agency partners or other retailing channels.

Operational reliability

 Essentially, the cloud can provide rail companies with better operations efficiency. As computing capabilities have evolved, and customer demands have become greater it is important that the travel industry responds to the changing demands. In order to enable greater collaboration across the industry and increase efficiency, Amadeus recently became the first travel technology provider to have retired all mainframes and run fully on open systems.

The move to open systems provides a number of benefits for the travel industry, from increased capacity, better system reliability and a global reach for better proximity and delivery of new products and services. This open cloud technology has given travel companies the flexibility to be able to scale and meet the demands of the growing industry, without the need to invest in costly infrastructure. Additionally, the options an open system provides an opportunity for greater collaboration as teams share the same cloud infrastructure enabling more opportunities for partnerships across the rail and wider travel industry.

The rail industry is set to face significant changes in the coming years and so scalability, reliability and flexibility will be crucial from an operations perspective. However, with the changes and challenges set to come, it is crucial that rail companies put the traveller at the centre of what they do, to ensure they are providing the traveller with an experience that reflects their needs and requirements.