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UITP India, supported by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) successfully organised the 5th edition of UITP India Urban Rail Seminar 2022. The flagship annual event was held virtually over two days, sponsored by KfW IPEX Bank and Cubic Transportation Systems, and media partners Rail Analysis India, Metro Rail Today, and the Urban Transport News.
The seminar attracted worldwide recognition with 310 representations from metros in India and abroad including metro operators, financing institutions ministries involved in the Urban Rail landscape of India, and other industry players, and a total of 44% registrations from outside India. On the eve of International Women’s Day, the highlight was the presence of 8 women speakers on both days of the Seminar.
The seminar encompassed 24 key national and international speakers sharing their knowledge and experiences on various topics of covid-19 impact on the Urban Rail sector and financial concerns, technological innovations, funding and financial innovation, and operation and maintenance in Urban Rail.
The event kicked off with an Inaugural session led by Mr. Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General, UITP discussing the uncertainties and challenges due to COVID-19 on the public transport systems along with Dr. Mangu Singh, Managing Director of DMRC who shed a light on the innovative steps taken by DMRC to reduce the financial burden as well as achieve climate action goals. He also highlighted the Central government’s initiative and targets for the rail system across the country, and how the seminar can help to address some of the challenges and achieve the targets optimally.
The plenary session was an interactive discussion amongst CXOs from National Capital Region Transport Corporation, Chennai Metro Rail Corporation, Metro de Madrid, and Addax, Brazil. The session witnessed a brief discussion on how the global pandemic has impacted the urban rail sector while highlighting various steps taken by transport authorities and future strategies to recover the losses.
The key highlights of the seminar were the three technical sessions on urban rail: technological innovations, funding and financial innovation, and digitalisation in the operation and maintenance of Urban Rail. Key national and international speakers from various organisations around the world came together on a single platform to share their experiences and interact with the participants.
The first technical session witnessed discussion on technological advancements to improve customer experience in Eastern Japan Railways; cyber security and digitalisation for better management of IT systems in Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, integrated payment systems by Cubic Transport Systems; and the digital payment adoption by customers in Metro Rio.
The second session on funding and financing saw interesting presentations from Public Transport Council (Singapore) on business models adopted by PTC to cushion Covid impact; the fundraising mechanism discussed by L&T Hyderabad through bonds and commercial papers; working of land value capture model by Transport for London; and alternative commercial financing solutions for mobility and transport by KfW IPEX bank.
The concluding session on digitalisation in operation and maintenance witnessed an insightful presentation on the impact of technology on various aspects of rolling stock in MTR Hongkong; application of Building Integrated Modelling (BEM) in rail project in the context of Maha Metro Nagpur; transition to the automated metro line in RATP France; and implementation of communication-based train control (CBTC) at Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt (VGF).
Even though COVID 19 has disrupted the functioning of rail-based systems across the world, public transport modes would remain the backbone for billions of people, especially in countries in the global south as they are the safest, most sustainable, and most affordable form of transport systems. The technological advancements, along with improvements in financial and governance structure will pave a smooth way for further strengthening of public transport in the future.
We would like to thank our sponsors, partners, speakers, and attendees who despite their busy schedules made the virtual seminar such a success.