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Railway Interest Group

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Date/Time Organisation & Location Description
14/11/2018 -

17:00 - 18:30
Railway Interest Group

Mott MacDonald 10 Fleet Place London EC4M 7RB
Systems Thinking, Innovation and Railways: Can We Make it Happen?


The Rail Technical Strategy (RTS) sets the UK’s vision of a technology-driven better railway system for the country, creating a framework for research and development. This is complemented by the recently published Capability Delivery Plan (CDP) defining the specific steps that need to be taken in order to achieve the vision. Similarly, and perhaps surprisingly, our European counterparts are following an equivalent approach with the publication of the Shift2Rail updated Multi Annual Action Plan (MAAP) which includes a vision and a catalogue of railway innovation capabilities and a roadmap defining how to achieve these. In addition, this is mirrored at international level by the UIC producing a research and innovation strategy including a capabilities plan. Can all this alignment mean that we finally can have some joined up thinking on how to carry out research and innovation that is relevant and with real impact? Where does systems thinking fit in all this?


The talk will have two distinct parts. It will introduce and explore the aspects described above, followed by an overview of a practical example linked to one of the capabilities identified in these strategic plans. Specifically, an overview will be presented of a current UK research project developing a new braking system concept for overall system capacity improvements.


Roberto Palacin has 20 years experience as an academic working on research related to rail and transport systems. He is currently leading a Railway Systems Research Group at Newcastle University as well as being degree program director for mechanical and systems engineering. Roberto has been involved in research projects on subjects such as strategic development of transport systems, energy efficiency of urban and mainline rail systems, urban mobility and sustainability, development of innovative railway concepts, energy optimisation of rail systems, intermodality of the European rail network and development of modular concepts for high-speed. Roberto’s research interests revolve around two main aspects, application of a systems approach to energy conservation and human-systems interaction and include mobility and mass-capacity in the context of MaaS (urban and long distance), improving railways energy efficiency, connectivity and the development of ergonomic and design-led railway environments.


Title Author Doc Type Doc Date File Type View
Systems Thinking, Innovation and Railways: Can We Make it Happen?  Interest Group  Event Flyer  17/10/2018  pdf   Open