April 2013

China-Korea-Japan Railway Research Technical Collaboration

Sustainable development has become the hottest buzzword around the world during the last decade and railway has brought much more attention as efficient transport with low environmental impacts. Countries in the far eastern Asia, China, Korea and Japan, are no exception for that. Railway has been the backbone of the national transportation network for these three countries for a long time and its role is ever increasing as a future sustainable transport mode.

Japan has been the leader of railway research for a long time. Entering into 21th century China and Korea are becoming the fastest follower in this area with the help of rapidly growing railway industry. The three countries agreed on that it is necessary to exchange information related to railway research and development undertaken in order to adapt to rapidly changing environment.

In August 2000 research institutes representing the three countries, China Academy of Railway Science (CARS), Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI), and Railway Technical Research Institute of Japan (RTRI) signed a memorandum on the launching of the China-Korea-Japan Railway Research Technical Meeting with the aim of implementing effective and efficient technical interchange among 3 organizations.

At that time, it was agreed that a seminar should be held annually in one of the three counties in rotation for the presentation of the results of join studies. The first seminar was held at KRRI, Korea in 2001. Every year, each organization shares research items to be performed jointly. With the partner’s or partners’ consent, each research item should be formalized as a bilateral or trilateral collaborative research item.
Collaborative research items deal with almost every aspect of railroad, e.g., ‘Abrasion Mechanism of Wheel/Rail Contact’, ‘Floating Precast Concrete Slab Track’, ‘Application of IT Technologies to Maintenance Work of Railway Facilities’, and ‘Strategy of Improving Operation Efficiency of Railway Transportation in East Asia’
Period of a collaborative research is usually 1 or 2 years. Participants of each item exchange their ideas and opinions through e-mail, conference calls or physical meetings. The progress of the research is presented at the annual Technical Meeting.

The number of collaborative research items per year is approximately 10.
Annual Technical Meeting consists of 2 or 3 days program, including presentations of collaborative research items, researchers meeting with similar research interest, technical tour and introduction of research trends of each institution or country.
The three institutes are trying to continue the cooperation to maintain their status as leading railway research institutes and hoping to extend it to the global level.