Railway services are available in most of the countries in the world. However, the demand for fast, reliable, and passenger friendly services is always being felt. With the ever increasing passenger and freight loads, more efficient mechanisms are needed to handle this increasing demand. And this would not be of only man-power but of smart technologies which when induced within the system, would produce a smarter railway system throughout.
The concept smart railways imply a set of new-generation solutions, services, and modern transportation with the help of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It combines software products to make more intelligent use of all rail assets, from tracks to trains, so companies can meet the increasing consumer demand for more efficient and safer services. Trends such as regulation, sustainability, demographics (growing traffic and aging population), economics (limited public funding and price sensitivity), mobility, and Information Technology (IT) innovations are impacting the rail industry.
Clearly spelling out the economic model of the Narendra Modi Government, the Railway Budget is banking heavily on involvement of the private investment- both domestic and overseas on modernization and a smart functioning of the country’s largest transport operator.
India’s Rs 700bn ($US 11.6bn) rail market is now open to global manufacturers and investors, following cabinet approval for so-called Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). It is estimated that by 2030, 40 percent of India will be residing in cities. This working class of population contributes significantly to the GDP of the country. SmartRail technology will be the future of travel for most of this urban population – smart, fast, convenient and cost effective.
As per the urban transport policy of India, metro rail technology (MRT), a proven and established solution in urban mobility, is envisaged in cities with population exceeding 2 million and is presently being mooted in more than 20 cities. The required investment for the projects is around Rs 2 lakh crore, including rolling stock portion of Rs 50,000 crore approximately. With most of the work already underway for major metro cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the next phase of mass rapid transit systems is planned for smaller cities of Jaipur, Kochi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Nagpur, Patna, Ludhiana, Indore, Pune and Chandigarh and Ahmedabad.