Smart railways refer to an integrated system of railway, which includes software solutions, devices & components, cloud services, etc. Smart railways make intelligent use of rail assets and rail network communication by combining Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with smart transportation systems. Advanced technology included in smart railways can collect new information to monitor all railway related operations more closely and accurately. Moreover, the smart railway allows sharing of information across the enterprise and with different partners including system integrators, rail operators, solution and service providers, passenger government agencies, etc.
The global smart railways market is expected to surpass US$ 78,400 Mn in terms of value by the end of 2028.
Increasing safety and security concerns among travelers is expected to boost the global smart railways market growth over the forecast period. Although railways are considered as one of the safest modes of transportation, ensuring safety and security is still a major challenge. This is more prevalent across the geriatric population where individual security is often identified as one of the top concerns among the elderly and old. Furthermore, it is more difficult to reassure passengers due to mass transport and complex networks prevailing in railways. For instance, in North America, political scrutiny and regulatory oversight is increasing, which can be confirmed from the legislation enacted in October 2008, which mandated the installation of Positive Train Control (PTC) systems in trains by the end of 2015.
Incorporation of Internet of Things and Big Data with railway infrastructure can provide significant growth opportunities. Introduction of Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) in railways is expected to support growth of the market by 2025. Various features are offered by IoT and Big Data such as real-time IoT, monitoring of trains, a mobile-related wake-up call for railway passengers, destination alerts, and passenger information. Moreover, the ICT industry has major growth opportunities with the existing influence of cloud computing services. For instance, the Government of India has invested US$ 753 million in information technology and research and development. This fund will be utilized for integration of train control systems and asset management applications. Network Rail Telecom (NRT) in the U.K. is targeting IoT to enhance its own internal service capabilities, by partnering with prominent suppliers, Cisco Systems Inc.
Global Smart Railways Market: Recent Developments
Replacement of already existing railway infrastructure is expected to hinder the global smart railways market growth over the forecast period. A large amount of investment is required for the replacement or integration of existing systems and equipment. The major challenge for smart railway developers is to find ways to connect these previously unconnected systems so that operators do not have to remove and replace their entire rail infrastructure in a view of realizing the benefits of smart railways. Aging rail systems restrict the efficiency of resources in established rail markets. The rigid and complex network also restricts the adding of new technologies and delivering new services.
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Global Smart Railways Market - Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019 in China, most industries have been affected. With economic activities being halted in majority of countries and restrictions on physical distancing, the global smart railways market witnessed significant decline in the growth. Construction activities in many parts of the world were temporarily shut down in order to curb the spread of the virus. However, governments of numerous countries have started relaxing their COVID-19 regulations and reopening economies for trade. The global supply chain industry is gradually recovering, which is expected to accelerate the smart railways market growth in the near future.
Smart railway solutions and component providers in North America are focused on business expansion. For instance, in 2015, Webtec Corporation acquired Faively Transport for US$ 1.8 Bn, in order to expand its product portfolio and geographic presence. Growing adoption of rail transportation in the U.S. is expected to drive growth of the regional market growth in the near future.
According to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, the Latin America smart railway market is expected to expand at a high CAGR during the forecast period. This is owing to increasing number of VHS (Very High Speed) rail projects and metro projects in line in the region by the end of 2025.
Key players involved in the global smart railways market are Siemens AG, Ansaldo STS, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, Alcatel-Lucent, Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) Limited, Alstom SA, Indra Sistemas, S.A., Cisco Systems, Inc., Bombardier, Inc., General Electric, IBM Corporation, and Hitachi Limited.
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