The overall objective of NEAR2050 is to determine the long-term needs of different actors in the railway sector.

In order to achieve this, and based on the project brief, NEAR2050 will look at five main topics, which will each include numerous sub-tasks. These include:

A determination of the long-term changes in future needs

To achieve this, the relevant stakeholders will first be identified over the entire rail sector. Suitable boundary limits will be put in place to maximise efficiency and usage of resources.

The interaction of the stakeholders will be analysed and modelled with the connections and dependencies of each stakeholder detailed.

The existing systems currently in use in the rail sector will be classified and based on the future trends and requirements of passengers. These will be prioritised with regards to the effect that the expected Shift2Rail technical developments will have on them. This classification will be supplemented with information obtained from external field studies and focus groups (FG) from outside the confines of Shift2Rail. As per the Shift2Rail MAAP, this will take into account high-speed traffic, regional passenger traffic, urban and suburban traffic, and freight traffic.

How these developments can be integrated into the existing systems forms a main part of this topic and as such NEAR2050 will look at the effects of these developments on society, mobility and the redistribution of revenues and assets.

To finalise this topic, an overview of the long-term changes in future needs will be developed and put forward.

A determination of customer requirements

This topic will focus on passenger traffic and look at what current and potential passengers require that is missing at the moment. Investigations will be carried out into customer behaviour. This will look at behaviour before, during and after a journey. It is understood that a journey is not just limited to the time a passenger spends sitting on a train but will go further to look at the behaviour before and after a journey. This will include looking at passenger options for travelling to and from a station and how these can be improved, booking processes that passengers are required to use and how these can be improved, and the current information availability for passengers and how this can be improved.

In order to determine the above investigations a customer research process will be developed so that behaviour can be modelled. The “As Is” situation of the passenger’s journey will be established.

These investigations will be based on the actual customer responses. As such a community platform will be established and maintained to gather actual information from passengers. Expert opinions from decision makers and those well established in the sector will be obtained by means of a Delphi study. Workshops will be organised and hosted with participants taken from the network of contacts each of the consortium members maintains. On the back of the community platform a project platform will be developed as a location where experts, external to the consortium, can share their ideas. Recommendations will be made as to how to improve customer requirements.

A determination and analyse of mega-trends and scenarios for 2022, 2030 and 2050

Under this topic a study of mega-trends will be carried out. This is to assess how the “landscape of mobility” will change for the above mentioned years. This study will need to take into account the changes that will be seen in personal transport, information exchange, behavioural changes, and digitalisation to name a few. Assessments of these trends will take into account the Shift2Rail objectives and the technological developments that are foreseen under Shift2Rail.

This topic will include a secondary study of mega-trends and the influence factors of future scenarios, while also carrying out a pre-evaluation and pre-prioritisation of these influence factors. This will initially be carried out by the consortium members however; the experience and expertise from external parties will then be sought via the project platform and expert interviews. This is to ensure that as many possible viewpoints are considered. The probabilities of these influence factors will need to be determined and will be based on the best-case, realistic, and worst-case scenarios for 2022, 2030, and 2050.

Mini-scenarios will be developed for each of the time-frames with each of the results verified by expert interviews and through a software based consistency matrix. Combinations of these mini-scenarios will then be brought together and fully modelled to show the perspectives and possibilities for each of the time scenarios. These will be put forward through a combination of storytelling and service design.

As a final element to this topic, the developed scenarios will be assessed regarding their relevance to Shift2Rail and how they can influence Shift2Rail policy, while also looking at how Shift2Rail can use these trends to influence policy for the railway sector.

Effects of 10% fewer cars

As part of this topic and relating to the mega-trends and future scenarios developed under the previous topic, an analysis will be made as to what social changes will occur if a 10% car reduction is achieved. This will be the product of a statistical analysis based on number of cars removed, modal shift, reduction in emissions, improvements in travel time, and improvement in overall health to name a few.

In order to establish user’s behaviour regarding modal change, several FG[pm1]  will be utilised and surveys will be made. The calculations of the expected social changes derived from a 10% or greater reduction on private car usage will be developed using Stated Preference Surveys were some plausible future scenarios will be made to de user. From these results, the expected modal change that each user will experience will be established. Once the expected modal share is determined, an analysis regarding railway sector will be developed.

This analysis will be carried out to investigate at what percentage modal share the rail sector is most suited and has optimum performance. This will further develop to investigate at what level of modal share are the benefits to the rail sector self-perpetuating.



This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Programme Research and Innovation action under grant agreement No 730838 This website reflects the views of the author(s) and does not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the European Commission. Whilst efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this document, the NEAR2050 consortium shall not be liable for any errors or omissions, however caused.