IMPACT-1 - The Railway of the Future

Shift2Rail has a vision of radically transformed mobility for the people, regions and business of Europe. This is necessary to face the challenges from the most important current societal trends e.g. climate change, urbanisation, territorial and social cohesion. Fundamental change in mobility is imperative for Europe to renew with and stay on a path of inclusive growth and shared prosperity.

The purpose of the Shift2Rail project IMPACT-1 is to assess the railways from an outside perspective and bring an understanding on how and to what extent rail can be a catalyst in transformational societal changes. The next generation railway is an essential ingredient in bringing about easy, personalised and integrated future mobility– without the railway there is no sustainable mobility solution in the long term.

IMPACT-1 is addressing this ambitious task by the future scoping of societal values, technological and behavioural trends as well as an assessment of how the railways can interact, respond and also be a driver of change. This exercise will form the basis for the definition of four use cases in which the societal impact of the technologies developed in the various Innovation Programmes of Shift2Rail will be assessed. The use cases developed in IMPACT-1 are based on the four global System Demonstrator Platforms (SPDs) defined within Shift2Rail:

  • the High Speed and Mainline passenger demonstration platform
  • the Regional passenger demonstration platform
  • the Urban and Suburban passenger demonstration platform
  • the Freight demonstration platform

A second important task for IMPACT-1 is to assess the contribution of the technologies developed on the operational targets of Shift2Rail that is on costs, capacity and reliability. This will be done by developing a Key Performance Indicator Model. With this KPI tool, also a huge added value for research in the railway sector and future projects is generated. It embodies a systematic approach to the understanding of the complex interrelations in railways, which will also be useful to forecast a project’s costs and benefits.


IMPACT-1 is laying the basis for a better understanding on how a reengineered railway system can be a catalyst and driver for change in a sustainable direction, The KPI model will provide an understanding of the interrelations between infrastructure, rolling stock and train operation and their interaction in an optimised system that delivers on Shift2Rail’s operational targets.  However the final results and conclusions will be the work of the successor project IMPACT-2 that will start in autumn 2017 and run to 2024.

Project participants: