Rail is a Future Driven by Technology

Submitted by Kristian on Mon, 11/06/2023 - 12:04

Technology helps railroads achieve safety milestones and minimize their environmental impact. It also allows them to maintain a competitive advantage in today's global economy. Rail technology is everywhere, but the industry is about to enter an exciting new era of innovation. Railroads will be able to use advanced algorithms and data-analysis software to harness massive amounts of data collected across the country to improve safety, reliability, and customer service. The next-generation automation will continue to reduce human error and limitations in railroad operations, thus improving safety and efficiency.


Rail is a Future Driven by Technology



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Federal regulations should encourage and permit railroads to continue developing and deploying these vital technologies, which produce significant benefits for American citizens, businesses, and the U.S. economic system.

Generating Big Data & Big Solutions

Big Data helps railroads solve enormous challenges in unimaginable ways. Railroads, using smart sensors installed across their network and the latest track inspection technology, have amassed databases containing hundreds of trillions of bytes of data about the condition and operation of equipment and track. This virtual goldmine, combined with better data analytics software, allows railroads to uncover key data trends and use those insights to improve safety and operations.

Researchers at MxV rail study data trends and make recommendations on how to use it to improve operations. Data analysis can be used to identify multiple factors and create "Composite Rules," which are industry standards. Recent industry members released a composite standard that establishes industry-wide standards on wheel safety and integrity. MxV Rail’s InteRRIS (r) database is the basis for future composite regulations.

The ability to improve safety and optimize operations will increase as railroads collect more data and refine software that can analyze it. Track inspection machines are currently operated independently from trains. However, the next-generation track inspection technology can be integrated into locomotives, generating 250 gigabytes per day of data. These onboard inspection technologies would enable continuous, more frequent inspections and data collection to inform annual capital and maintenance plans.

Rail is a Future Driven by Technology



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Automating the Workplace

Automation is a great way to improve railroad safety and efficiency. Automation of inspection technology, Positive train control (PTC), and the implementation of 100% of PTC route mile requirements have begun to fulfill their promise of reducing human error. For example, a sophisticated algorithm was able to analyze the track alignment (also known as track geometries) of over 1,500 curves on track in a matter of hours, a task that would have taken four people ten months to complete manually.

To supplement the required manual inspections, all Class I railroads utilize automated technologies. The use of next-generation technologies and changes to federal regulations will allow railroads to perform safety inspections at a higher frequency, detect flaws with greater accuracy, and respond faster, all while keeping workers safe.

Automating train operations can also improve network efficiency and safety. This will allow more goods to be transported by rail, reducing the need for highway capacity while improving fuel efficiency and reducing air pollution. PTC, a technology designed to reduce rail accidents caused by human error, is at the heart of automated train operation.

The next generation of PTC, when deployed, will be able to pinpoint the exact location of every train operating on the network and the required distance between trains for them all to run safely. With this information, railroads can safely increase the number of trains on a single track and manage their proximity to each other, improving network speed and fluidity.

21st Century Regulations For A 21st Century Industry

A paradigm shift is needed for railroads to fully realize the potential of technology. Federal regulations require railroads to carry out manual inspections despite the availability of technology that can do this more quickly and reliably while keeping workers safe. To reap the benefits of future technologies, regulatory processes will need to be modernized from their current historical perspective into one that actively encourages technological solutions that are safe and productive and allow the industry to better serve American consumers and businesses.

Railroads can meet tomorrow's challenges while maintaining their position as the best transportation network in the world by creating a regulatory environment that is based on current technology and flexible enough to accommodate future innovations.


Rail is a Future Driven by Technology


The ultimate solution for reliable power control! call us at 276-285-3841


The future of railroads is undeniably driven by technology. With the ongoing advancements in data analysis, automation, and safety measures, the rail industry is poised for an exciting era of innovation. These technological advancements not only enhance safety and operational efficiency but also have far-reaching benefits for the environment and the economy.

To fully realize the potential of these technologies, it is imperative that federal regulations evolve to encourage and accommodate these advancements. Modernizing regulatory processes to align with the current state of technology will empower the industry to better serve the needs of American citizens and businesses while maintaining its position as a top-tier transportation network worldwide.

As railroads continue to embrace technology and automation, they are well-positioned to meet the challenges of the 21st century, ushering in an era of increased safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability. The rail industry is on the right track toward a future where technology not only drives progress but also ensures a brighter, more connected, and more efficient future for all.

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