The new SMaRTE project focuses on rail traveller experience

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Nowadays improving travellers’ experience is a key priority for the whole transport sector: from public authorities, to operators, to manufacturers. The central question is: how can we offer travellers what they want in their journeys and raise the quality of each travel experience? It is already quite evident that elements such as ticket fares, journey time, reliability of service, and crowding have an impact on the experience of rail users. Other factors that may encourage travellers to choose a different mode of transport are less clear.

To explore and investigate this “transport cornerstone”, UITP is pleased to announce the launch of a new EU-funded project, SMaRTE (Smart Maintenance and the Rail Traveller Experience). SMaRTE aims to develop an innovative, multi-disciplinary approach to modelling the behaviour of travellers when choosing a particular transport mode or an alternative for a journey. SMaRTE will use its findings to help refocus the role of technology, so that the user can be back at the centre of the rail journeys.  

Using psychological and sociological perspectives, among other branches of research, SMaRTE has been working since September 2017 to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the journey planning process. Through this project, we will better understand how the multimodal travel is mentally mapped, what the importance of each element of the journey is in affecting the decisions of the travellers and in which ways the journey experience can be improved. To understand the customer experience as a whole, SMaRTE takes into account the changing role and availability of technology, while considering the underlying demographic trends throughout the whole of Europe. 

At the end of the project, SMaRTE will propose a new “Smart Journey Vision”, which will present new potential measures focused on increasing the transport system attractiveness, mainly centred in the rail sector.

In addition, SMaRTE, coordinated by the University of Leeds, will also define a new methodology for the latest implementation of a Condition Based Maintenance system appropriate and efficient for the railway system.

UITP contributes to the evaluation and mapping of the passengers’ experiences and the organisation of focus groups (travellers and transport stakeholders). In a nutshell, UITP will incorporate the perspective of the transport operators to continue increasing the rail system’s attractiveness.

For more information, contact Cristina Hernández.

Interested in a deeper international discussion around rail? Register to participate in the International Rail Forum for North America, 7-8 December in Washington DC. We hope to see you there!

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