In line with global urbanisation trends, it is estimated that 4.5 billion people globally will be living in cities by 2020, representing 60% of the world’s population. This will continue to exacerbate demand for urban transportation in these areas, which will be dependent on smart mobility networks to facilitate travel and the movement of goods and services in tomorrow’s smart cities
A more flexible use of rolling stock on long distances can generate significant improvements in terms of efficiency thus leading to a most cost-efficient and more competitive railway passenger transport.
New interior design concepts are needed to be able to use passenger coaches in a more flexible way and to make sure that this flexibility does not interfere with the attractiveness of vehicles in different market segments. The purpose of innovative comfort concepts for railway vehicles is to improve the competitiveness of railway long-distance transport as compared to short-distance air transport.
To maximize the potential of high-speed long-distance railway transport, transport operators need innovative equipment that meet new requirements for interoperability, economy, reliability, energy efficiency and the ability to ride both dedicated and conventional tracks.
In terms of innovating concepts, the industry has offered more and more attractive ticketing solutions so as to make long-distance railway traffic more attractive and a viable competitor to short-distance air transport. However, a major disadvantage consists of the integrated ticketing system for long-distance passenger transport services which is still a complex issue, as shown by a study elaborated in 2012 by the European Parliament, the Department of Internal Affairs.
Its feasibility encounters a number of legislative, technical and competition-related hurdles resulting from the differences between the many transport environments that have to be combined. Integrated ticketing is not an objective per se: rather, it is a means of making multimodal transport more attractive for users and of promoting more efficient use of existing infrastructure and services.
Only limited statistics are available on long-distance intermodal travel and there is no common definition across Europe of long-distance trips. This makes it difficult to provide a precise overview of the main characteristics and size of the long-distance market. Nevertheless, it can be said with absolute certainty that long-distance integrated ticketing remains a limited phenomenon, restricted to certain niche markets.
However, stakeholders suggest that, even though it may be difficult to estimate, the potential for such a market does exist and may grow in the longer term.
The study shows that as far as the long-distance market segment is concerned, progress has been slow and no significant advances have been made. Rail-rail integration remains weak, as evidenced by the limited number of instances found by this study. Policy measures in this area have essentially focused on improvements in technical interoperability among domestic networks, while less attention has been paid to the integration of booking and ticketing schemes for trips involving more than one operator.
According to a Eurobarometer survey published in December 2013, 58% of Europeans are satisfied with rail services in their country. However, comparatively few Europeans take the train. In some countries, the number of users who consider it overly complicated to buy tickets is worryingly high. And some 19% of Europeans do not use the train because of accessibility issues. Persons with reduced mobility complained in particular about bad accessibility of train carriages and platforms and a lack of information on accessibility when they are planning their journey.
The overall level of satisfaction with the ease of buying tickets has not improved since 2011 (78% satisfaction) with however big improvements in Austria and Greece (14 and 10 percentage points increase respectively), but worrying increases in dissatisfaction in Italy, Denmark and Slovenia (all more than 10 percentage points).
Satisfaction with the provision of information during train journeys, in particular in the event of delays has remained insufficient (less than 50% satisfaction). The highest rates of satisfaction are found in the UK (70%), Finland and Ireland (68% and 62%). Highest rates of dissatisfaction are found in France (47%) and Germany (42%).