Madam, Sir, dear colleagues,

The aim of research and innovation is to improve the railways in all respects for the benefit of all. Based on technological advances and innovations, the rail sector shall develop integrated, greener, smarter and safer rail transport systems that respect the environment and natural resources, and further develop the competitiveness of the sector in the global transport market.

The purpose of the International Rail Research Board (IRRB) is to identify common problems and research & innovation needs, to exchange information, best practices and develop common research projects and solutions in order to drive the railway sector into adopting state-of-the art technologies.

Since 2005, the Board has become a platform for sharing output on important common transport related research themes, with investigation into how best to harness the potential of such research for the benefit of UIC members worldwide, through closer cooperation, building knowledge bridges between continents and exploring opportunities for global scale research funding / resources.

In its Strategic Document published on December 2011, the IRRB decided to support research and innovation among others through the establishment of the “Red Book of Railway Transport” listing railway transport challenges requiring scientific solutions.

Facing the market needs for modern and efficient transport technologies, railway research can no longer afford to take a random course. The efforts of research organisations and IRRB members should therefore focus on addressing key regional and global issues in railway transport.
Through this Red Book of Railway Transport, the IRRB has started to rank the core challenges to be met by the rail transport over the next decades. An intricate method for prioritisation has been built in cooperation among major railway research centres, under the auspices of IRRB.

The classification method is used to rank world level technical and technological problems in order to prioritise as well as to classify problems according to their impact on the main objectives of railways: economic efficiency and safety.

Finally, at a time when the global economy is mobilising to provide sustainable solutions to the current economic crisis; research, innovation and standardisation are key instruments for the global rail sector to be of added value in the future.

A strong global rail sector is essential to sustainable mobility in a low-carbon society, to support economic growth and social cohesion, and people’s expectations of mobility, both in freight and passenger services.

In this second issue of the IRRB Newsletter your will find information about IRRB’s members’ expertise and activities all contributing to our common goal of developing and promoting the global railway system.

Mr. Boris LAPIDUS, IRRB Chairman