Leaders in the German railway industry came together to agree on a national digitalisation strategy in Berlin on June 22. Alexander Dobrindt (federal transport minister), Rüdiger Grube (CEO of German Rail [DB]), and Volker Schenk (German Railway Industry Association [VDI]) outlined five key focus areas within the strategy.
State investment in rail will be increased to record levels of €5bn a year by 2020 to increase investment in European Train Control Systems (ETCS) and electronic interlockings
Internet access on trains and at stations is to be increased so that free WiFi will be available on all ICE trains
€75m will be injected by the government for the development of digital applications to increase network capacity. €100m will be invested in the development of digital innovation
As part of a plan to gradually automate the rail network, the government will establish the legal framework for automatic trains on the mainline network, and launch pilot projects. The vision is that automated rail will be more flexible, energy efficient, and sustainable, and that this innovative work will mhelp make Germany the international technology leader in rail automation
Digital planning and construction will be standard for all public transport infrastructure projects by 2020, with the transport minister launching pilot projects with DB
Grube stated that DB 4.0 are focusing on three areas of action, at the levels of the customer experience, efficiency of internal processes, and the use of data-based business models.
Schenk stated further that the digitalisation of railway is powerfully supported by research and will help to create the best railway system there has ever been: one that is more climate-friendly, safer, more efficient, and more comfortable for its users.