ETR – Eisenbahntechnische Rundschau | Ausgabe International/2017

Assisted, automatic or autonomous operation – potential for rail traffic

September 2017 | Christian Schindler, Dirk Vallée, Nils Nießen

Rail-guided traffic has systemic advantages for automatic or autonomous operation compared with road traffic. Different opportunities and recommended actions are found to exist for each of the market segments of local passenger traffic, long-distance passenger traffic and freight traffic. They can be compound to create an attractive service to offer in future. 1. Introduction To the best of scientific knowledge, traffic as it is observed and exists is an outcome of locational factors, their accessibility, the transport on offer and the personal behaviour of each individual using it. Therefore, transport is the consequence of the fundamental need for mobility, serving the purpose of activities and exchange relationships involving people and goods for the purposes of living, employment/education, supplies (including the transport of goods) and leisure pursuits. These basic needs are achieved in reality on the basis of the distribution of locations, the transport on offer and the personal preferences or considerations of convenience in the form of non-motorised modes of transport (on foot or by bicycle) and in the case of both passenger and freight transport making use of collective modes (trains, buses, trams and metros) or individual motor vehicles (cars or lorries).