The Governing Board of the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking has approved the European DAC Delivery Programme that will support freight shift towards railways, increasing rail market share and thus helping Green Deal’s priority to shift 75% of EU freight transport from road to rail.
The Programme will be a unique opportunity for the sector to collectively drive the deployment of technological and operational solutions related to the DAC (Digital Automatic Coupler), by means of a focused and inclusive system approach under the umbrella of Shift2Rail.
The objectives of the programme will cover technological assessments of the available solutions, testing and demos, definition of migration plans, assessing the interfaces with other programmes, business cases, and communication and dissemination, aiming to facilitate the deployment of the DAC in Europe.
This will include three main activities:
- The selection of an open, functional, operationally tested, safe and sustainable European DAC model ready for industrialization and deployment;
- The delivery of a final open design of the selected model, based on use- case considerations by the end of 2021, and its interoperability and safety requirements which could be incorporated into the TSI, Green Deal & Digitalization Package in 2022;
- Subject to the results of the ongoing business case analysis, the identification of migration and business plans compatible across Europe as well as the necessary resources to match them.
The European DAC Delivery Programme will encompass all actors of the European railway sector and in addition, an Interim Working Group will be set-up under the responsibility of the Head of Research and Innovation together with the future DAC Programme manager, as well as to duly integrate in the process independent expert views and the Member States.
The activities will start under Shift2Rail, which will provide some programme support within existing contracts and involve the key role of Innovation Programme 5, and are expected to expand substantially under its successor, if successful and approved.
Shift2Rail’s successor programme, if approved, is expected to include a large so-called ‘Transforming Project’ dedicated to freight transport, consolidating the sector’s and the European Union’s commitment to shifting freight to rail, in line with the European Green Deal targets.