One of the main UITP tasks within the “Future of Surface Transport Research Rail” (FOSTER RAIL) project has been an update of its previous Regional and Suburban Rail (passenger) Market Study, a statistical in-depth analysis of the segment’s evolution over the past years in Europe.
Preliminary findings, together with other UITP projects’ updates, were presented during one of the biggest rail events in the CEEC region, the Railway Pro Investment Summit 2015 (6-7 October, Bucharest, Romania), then to the UITP Regional and Suburban railways Committees during its last meeting in Munich, Germany).
First of all the data shows the critical importance of this market segment for mainline railway operators and governements: it is once again confirmed that 90% of all European railway users are recorded in regional and suburban services. Cross-border and high-speed trains may be the excellence showcase of railways, but the less spectacular business of carrying nearly millions 9 billion passengers every year is a critical responsibility to ensure economic development, social cohesion and sustainable mobility. The study gives insight on the supply and demand figures, the nature of the contracts governing these services, productivity figures and infrastructure/assets aspects. Moreover, this study presents clear arguments as to why, instead of disregarding it or even allowing for its dismantlement, the EU and national policy makers should provide this rail segment with the necessary investments and regulatory framework, as this is a vital source for regional mobility, decongestion solutions and competitiveness.
FOSTER RAIL is a 3-year project which supports the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) in its efforts to promote a strategic outlook on rail research at the European level for medium and long-term. The publishing of the final report is scheduled for the coming weeks.