The Future of Rail & Tech Innovation!

by Alisa Ogranovich

Last week, we hosted our final Industry Panel to discuss how new technologies are driving the evolution of Rail and mobility. Moderated by Mina Salib from Fleeting, the panelists included Udi Sharir, CEO of our cohort companies, Save A Train, and industry leaders, Judith Apshago from Amtrak and Joffrey Lauthier from Humatics. The discussion centered around the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing the railway industry and how technological innovation can be leveraged for resilience and growth.

Here are 4 key takeaways from the discussion:

1.) The rail industry has been resilient to challenges faced by COVID-19 and continues driving forward with new tech innovations.

Prior to the global pandemic, the rail industry was experiencing one of its best years yet. Then, practically overnight, the ridership infrastructure collapsed and the entire industry’s operations came to a crashing halt. Judith, the AVP of IT at Amtrak, highlighted three main internal components that Amtrak focused on improving during the challenging times:

  1. Employees were quickly transitioned to work-from-home platforms.
  2. Customer Experience enhancements were implemented, specifically in contactless technology and touch-free point-of-sales operations.
  3. Operations are being continuously modified and enhanced to stay current on the latest technology solutions.

2.) The challenges facing rail industry leaders have ultimately created new opportunities for innovation.

Before COVID-19 hit, the rail sector experimented with new tech advancements in areas such as mobile ticketing, contactless sales solutions, and enhanced railcar cleaning protocols, to name a few. Now, companies are forced to adopt such innovations in order to stay competitive in the market and continue attracting passengers. This necessity offers startups like Save A Train a vast array of opportunities to establish themselves in the US market. The global trend towards digitization has essentially accelerated the future of rail.

3.) Consumers are demanding digitalization.

As Udi explained, in order to create a smooth transition back to the new normal way of life, companies should invest heavily in digital, user-friendly technology in order to enhance the customer experience. Modern tech solutions should be leveraged to accelerate change and evolve the overall rider platform, especially given the recent spike in environmental awareness and emphasis on reducing one’s carbon footprint, particularly among Millennials and Gen Z.

4.) Improvements in data analytics are key to increased operational efficiency.

The Rail industry, along with most other industries, has begun relying on real-time data analytics and consumer insights to make quicker and more accurate decisions. As Joffrey, the Director of Sales at Humatics, noted, other forms of automation, such as increasing funding of driverless railcars, will be essential to stay competitive.

Thank you to our moderator, Mina Salib, and to our panelists, Judith, Udi, and Joffrey for their time and thoughts on what the future of Rail holds!

Learn more about Save A Train here!

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