Rail Digital Transformation: Trans-Asian Railway Members at the Forefront -Know More about IT

Trans-Asian Railway
Trans-Asian Railway

High-Level Conference on Accelerating Rail Digital Transformation in Asia-Pacific

The High-Level Conference on Accelerating Rail Digital Transformation in Asia and the Pacific was held in New Delhi, India on April 5 and 6, 2023. It was organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Railways.

Participants:

The Conference was attended by representatives of the Ministries of Transport/Railways from 18 countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Georgia, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nepal, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Additionally, representatives from various organizations participated, such as the Asian Institute of Transport Development, Birmingham Center for Railway Research and Education, Organization for Cooperation Between Railways, International Union of Railways, and International Organization for International Carriage by Rail.

Objectives of the Conference:

The Conference aimed to discuss and deliberate on ways to accelerate rail digital transformation in Asia and the Pacific to enhance the competitiveness of rail transport and increase freight and passenger transport by rail to support countries in achieving sustainable development goals.

Proposed Strategy:

The Conference presented a regional strategy on accelerating rail digital transformation in Asia and the Pacific, which aims to provide coherence and momentum to current initiatives on rail digitalization. It includes fostering an ecosystem that harnesses the full potential of rail digitalization, augmenting the operational performance, capacity, reliability, safety, and security of rail assets, enhancing customer experience, creating synergies through partnerships to digitalize rail, and ensuring high-level political support on rail digitalization. The strategy identifies eight priority areas and five cross-cutting issues to deepen the regional cooperation on accelerating rail digital transformation.

Implementation Arrangements:

The proposed strategy provides for implementation arrangements, such as formulating national and sub-regional strategies on rail digitalization, measuring progress through developing a rail digital and innovation index complemented by three levels of maturity for rail digitalization, and setting up a regional capacity building program on rail digital transformation with a pool of experts to enhance digital skills of railway officials.

Conclusion and Recommendation:

The two-day Conference ended with a recommendation to adopt the regional strategy on accelerating rail digital transformation by the members of Trans-Asian Railway network. The participants welcomed the draft strategy presented by ESCAP secretariat and underlined that its adoption and subsequent implementation can fast track rail digitalization, particularly for landlocked and least developing countries of the region.

Key Points:

  1. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Ministry of Railways organized a conference on accelerating rail digital transformation in Asia and the Pacific region.
  2. Representatives from 18 countries, including India, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, attended the conference.
  3. The conference aimed to enhance competitiveness in rail transport, increase freight and passenger transport, and support countries in achieving sustainable development goals.
  4. The proposed strategy focuses on fostering an ecosystem that harnesses the full potential of rail digitalization, improving operational performance, capacity, reliability, safety, and security of rail assets, enhancing customer experience, creating partnerships, and ensuring political support.
  5. The proposed strategy also provides for implementation arrangements with suggestions to formulate national and sub-regional strategies on rail digitalization, measuring progress, and developing a rail digital and innovation index.
  6. The conference ended with a recommendation to adopt the regional strategy on accelerating rail digital transformation by the members of the Trans-Asian Railway network.

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