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Rail plays a vital role to keep cities and regions alive and moving, providing a safe, smart and sustainable means of transport. Regional, suburban, urban and local rail transport is an essential and innovative component of the overall European rail sector, helping citizens to connect with each other and move in and around regions and cities.
January 2021 marks the debut of the European Year of Rail, an EU initiative to highlight the benefits of rail as a sustainable, smart and safe means of transport.
UITP is taking this opportunity to launch a series of activities to promote the use of regional and local rail transport. Throughout 2021, UITP will organise events and launch new publications and projects to highlight the key contribution of rail transport in citizens’ everyday lives.
Join us and keep reading!
UITP is proud of acting as the platform uniting the various stakeholders related to efficient and sustainable mass transit systems, including rail. With close to 250 member rail operating companies coming from over 50 countries from around the world, in addition to organising authorities and suppliers, we have provided a space for immense knowledge creation, sharing and dialogue between these essential players. The members must be applauded for their openness and their dedication to advancing rail lines and public transport.
Our first activity will be to organise together with the European Passengers’ Federation (EPF) a digital workshop on rail passenger rights on 19 May 2021 from 9.30 to 12.00 (CET-Brussels time). The objective will be to present what will change according to the revised EU regulation on rail passenger rights. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear about good practice examples from UITP and EPF members’ strategies to make their services more attractive to passengers, notably in areas where such services are not covered by the EU Regulation on rail passenger rights.
On 8 and 9 June 2021, join APTA and UITP for a two-day virtual technical conference featuring high-energy sessions on technology, operations, safety & security, planning, finance, capital projects, workforce development, diversity and inclusion, and more. The sessions will explore urban, commuter, high-speed, and intercity rail modes.
UITP is currently collecting “Rail Success Stories” with the aim of gathering and sharing positive and successful examples of rail services development in cities, metropolitan areas, regions, promoting the rail mode as the “backbone of the mobility system” and showcasing how it contributed and is contributing to the improvement of the quality of life for citizens and users and how positively it impacted the territory. Based on the examples collected, a report will be prepared.
Contact Giuseppe Rizzi (giuseppe.rizzi[@]uitp.org) if you have a good example to share.
Over the years, UITP has produced a number of publications to highlight the importance of regional and local rail, such as the Statistics brief on light rail and tram – the European outlook, the Statistic brief on World metro figures.
UITP will take the opportunity of the European Year of Rail to update these publications and launch new ones with the objective to promote rail as a sustainable mode of transport.
UITP is proudly engaged in various rail-focused European projects, funded by the Shift2Rail JU.
In 2017, UITP launched Shift2MaaS, a project that tests so-called ‘IP4 technologies’ developed by other projects in the real world, to advance the uptake of MaaS schemes. Currently, Shift2MaaS is in the final stages of the project and a Final Event will be organised in June 2021. Stay tuned!
Luckily, Shift2MaaS has passed the baton to its follow-up project, called IP4MaaS. Also coordinated by UITP, IP4MaaS will further test the technologies developed under IP4, such as a ticket booking system or a journey planner. The project website will be online soon!
Finally, the RIDE2RAIL project aims to develop solutions and tools that will facilitate the efficient combination of ride-sharing and scheduled transport services such as bus and rail.
The total number of regional and suburban Rail passengers carried in 2006 was more than 6, 800 million. In nearly 10 years, demand has increased by 31% to reach 8,9 billion journeys.
With a total annual ridership in Europe of 10,422 million in 2018, light rail and tram carry as many passengers as metros and regional/commuter rail, and 10 times more passengers than air travel in Europe.
In Europe, metro systems carry 10,750 million passengers annually.
* On the one hand, ridership has been rising in many cities/regions (and we estimate it has as a whole in Europe) in recent years, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Covid has severely impacted ridership in 2020/2021 (and still is) and there are uncertainties as to the rate of recovery, however urban rail will remain essential for mass urban transport whatever the rate of recovery is.
Source: Regional and suburban railways market analysis update (2016), p.19 – link / Statisctics Brief – Light Rail and tram: The European outlook (2019), p.2 (2019) , p.2 – link / Statistics brief – World metro figures (2018), p.1 – link
*Acting on behalf of Mohamed Mezghani SARL