Fostering digital transformation is of greater political importance for the EU than ever before and has thus been identified as a key priority for unlocking future growth in Europe. Our industry is continuously adapting to end-users’ changing needs and expectations to further enhance the attractiveness and competitiveness of rail transport.

In recent years, technological developments have been driving transport towards major changes. Digital technologies are affecting the ways in which the sector’s various mobility stakeholders are utilising user information, processing payments, implementing integration and deploying automation. They are also influencing ongoing changes in mobility patterns and end-users’ behaviour. We can reasonably expect that the digital transformation will continue to advance with the arrival of further improvements in asset management and operations, combined with the evolving expectations of transport users.

 While the rail sector is sometimes perceived as being conservative, the truth is that rail transport has always been at the forefront of technological progress, led by its supply industry in the vanguard. With digitalisation, the pace of change in the sector has moved up a gear. Emerging digital trends are fostering new technologies which are spurring breakthrough opportunities, shortening the timeline of innovation and evolving the entire transport sector. Rail’s most recent digital advances of rail in the digital have demonstrated a strong level of interest and engagement from across the sector – and in particular, the supply industry.

 Fostering digital transformation is of greater political importance for the EU than ever before and has thus been identified as a key priority for unlocking future growth in Europe. Our industry is continuously adapting to end-users’ changing needs and expectations to further enhance the attractiveness and competitiveness of rail transport.

UNIFE has identified the following areas on which digital transformation efforts should be focused to fulfil the European rail sector and its supply industry’s ambitions:

  • Big Data
  • Cybersecurity
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • 5G Connectivity
  • Blockchain
  • Digital Twins

UNIFE’s rail digitalisation priorities and activities are defined by the Digitalisation Platform.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity represents one of the fastest-developing digital trends, moving as rapidly as the digital transformation itself. As cyber-threats are constantly shaping the security environments of every industry and economic sector, securing European network and information systems is essential to keeping the economy running and ensuring prosperity, as repeatedly declared by the European Commission. The European rail supply industry, with its complex interdependences and legacy infrastructure, has recognised that  protecting digital assets against cyber-threats is a vital element of maintaining a safe and reliable railway. Promising the integrity of rail systems and maintaining operational continuity standards is an objective which is shared by the whole rail sector.

UNIFE is well aware of its members’ high level of interest in cybersecurity, which will become on increasing import in an ever-more digitalised world. IUNIFE set up a dedicated working group devoted to cybersecurity  which works alongside the wider UNIFE Digitalisation Platform. The Sub-Group has contributed the Position Paper on Rail Cybersecurity Transformation to present the European rail supply industry’s stances on the challenges cybersecurity presents for the European railway system and sets short-, medium- and long-term priorities and targets as a basis for further engagement with EU institutions and other rail stakeholders. This paper also presents, and shortly describes, the main standardisation and technological challenges which have been identified by UNIFE members. The completion of these objectives will ensure the full alignment and commitment of the European Rail Supply Industry towards the European strategy to tackle cybersecurity.

UNIFE is actively involved in various activities at the European level aimed at developing targeted cybersecurity-related skills and knowledge, as well as increasing awareness of cyber-threats within each company and organisation.

Digitisation Rail Roundtable

In 2019, a Digitisation Rail Roundtable was jointly established by DG CONNECT and DG MOVE to discuss Digitisation/Digitalisation priorities for the rail sector.

During its Kick-Off meeting, Digitisation Rail Roundtable mandate tasked the Digitising Railway Steering Group with working on three workstreams, one of which was cybersecurity.

This workstream, co-chaired by UNIFE and ER-ISAC, brought together a group of experts that well represent the entire rail sector. Starting with the analysis of ongoing initiatives related to cybersecurity in the rail sector in the legislative field at both the EU and national levels, the current standardisation and regulation environment, and present Research & Innovation activities, this collective effort resulted in the development of key recommendations from the rail sector to the European Commission. 

For more information, please contact:
Tommaso Spanevello
Public Affairs Manager
tommaso.spanevello@unife.org
+32 2 642 23 29