Regional railway (lines with lower usage or secondary network) plays a crucial role not only in serving European regions, but also as feeders for passenger and freight traffic for the main/core network. Therefore, they have an essential function as an environmentally friendly mode of transport. In addition is as well essential their link to other public transport services (e.g. bus) and to first and last mile services, such as bikesharing, cycling, walking or driving to get from/to stations to remote locations. Unfortunately, many of these routes were abandoned in the past - mainly due to high costs. Therefore, these rail lines need to be revitalized or even renewed to make them economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and to meet current customer needs and challenges
The overall objectives of the FutuRe project are to ensure the long-term viability of the regional railway by reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO), while ensuring high service quality and operational reliability. It also aims to increase customer satisfaction and to make rail an attractive and preferred mode of transport. Therefore, the main objectives of FutuRe are: lowering CAPEX system costs, increasing productivity by lowering OPEX (unit costs per train kilometre), and improving customer satisfaction.
These goals are to be achieved through a concept tailored to regional railways but transferable across Europe, encompassing digitalisation, automation and the use of common and new technologies for signalling and track components, rolling stock and customer information. Cost drivers such as infrastructure and energy components, e.g. trackside train detection (axle counters, etc.) and level crossing control systems, will be replaced by less costly wireless and energy-autonomous components. In addition, a modular and standardised vehicle concept specifically tailored to the requirements of regional lines becomes needed, as well as a range of attractive services.