On behalf of SBB Cargo AG research is conducted on the current status of knowledge about innovations in rail freight technology and operation processes. The development of these innovations for time horizons 2030 and 2050 is assessed.
A meta-survey merges the results of 26 studies, forecasts and reports done by various institutions into a basic scenario for the rail freight traffic in 2030. In total, 22 technologies or production methods are considered, which are not yet or only scarcely employed at present. Each of these innovations is described in a fact sheet adhering to a consistent structure. Subsequently, the innovations were rated according to an evaluation scheme following the principles of utility analysis. This scheme was specifically designed for this project reflecting projected needs in 2030 and 2050. The benefits and obstacles of implementation were quantified for each innovation. Also, direct and indirect interactions between innovations as well as their technological maturity were taken into account. Besides detailed refinement of information about considered innovations with their respective pros and cons the research delivered a ranking of all important innovations for rail freight traffic. The results are not limited to Switzerland.