Although there have been concerns related to environmental
sustainability, emission levels, and climate change, the trends in the rail
sector appear to be promising. Rising demand
for passenger and freight segment, along with liberalization, urbanization, and
consolidation, is leading to revitalization of global rail industry. There have been significant investments in the
emerging economies within Asia and Latin America, which indicates positive
change in the rail sector.
The rail suppliers will have to address the frequent
change in government policies (both international and domestic), along with the
adoption of emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data,
and analytics. It will assist in the
timely manufacturing of rail equipment with high capacity and better network. Considering the trend, passenger and freight rail
will form the critical part of the transport system. Railways will be main mode of intercity
travels. This will create competition
for air or road transport. With
digitization complementing the industry, rail will become innovative,
sustainable, and competitive.
World population, by 2050, should exceed 9 billion inhabitants,
of which nearly 70 percent will reside in urban areas (source: United Nations
Population Fund). This trend toward
urbanization should be particularly strong in China, India, and in the
developing countries of Africa and Latin America.
The primary driver of this growth is the urban transit segment,
especially in emerging economies. This
postulate a shift in historic growth drivers away from (high-speed) mainline
connections, induced by ever-increasing urbanization.
The growing urbanization should also lead to extending
transportation networks that connect big cities to smaller ones. In this respect, it has already been proven
that the high-speed train is much safer and consumes less energy than other
transportation modes (source: CE Delft). An increase in high-speed lines and the
renewal of train fleets should take place in both mature and emerging markets,
while the creation of new networks will create additional opportunities.
As per Catalysts’RG1 ,
denser urban area will offer opportunities for rail, such as metro, to reduce
crowding and improve predictable transit times, efficiency, and safety of
passengers. By 2030, it is expected that
60 percent of urban population might prefer rail travels against road or air.
Urbanization will drive the demand for passenger rail
transport such as intercity and interurban mobility, and public transport involving
rail, metro, tram, and bus is already capturing increased market shares in
urban and regional markets not just for commuting but also for leisure trips,
and this trend is expected to accelerate as urbanization spreads.