Thanks to ongoing investment and carefully targeted improvements, the UK now has the safest major railway in Europe for passengers, with the passenger and workforce fatality rate on our network almost 16 times lower than in France and 11 times lower than in Germany.

But, although rail accidents and fatalities are at an all-time low, one serious injury or fatality is one too many.

Digital transformation is set to revolutionise the railway, allowing more people and goods to travel more reliably and safely, ultimately reducing fatalities.

What is digitalisation?

Digitalisation is the process via which digital technologies are used by sectors and administrations, in this case the rail industry, to improve their performance and create new value.

How can digital transformation help to improve safety and reduce fatalities on our railways?

Digital transformation will, without doubt, change the way the industry works, particularly when it comes to risk and safety. The increasing accessibility of powerful computing, data, and high level analytics presents numerous opportunities to proactively identify and manage high risk scenarios on the railway.

Rail companies have already implemented new services and applications using digital technologies, but the process of digital transformation offers countless opportunities, including both short and medium-term potential applications.

New solutions, such as passenger and freight information services, video surveillance, smart infrastructure, monitoring of assets, signalling systems, and automated train control systems will enhance the efficiency of operations.

There is also a significant potential to take a data-driven approach to safety, with decisions being made based on real, live data.

Digital transformation will be beneficial in the following areas:

  • Workforce safety
  • Safe planning and delivery
  • Signalling
  • Maintenance of rolling stock

Organisations are increasingly recognising the benefits that digitalisation offers for the rail sector, particularly when it comes to safety on the tracks. Utilising digital technology allows for better decision making and a proactive approach to maintenance, communication, and collaboration. This, in turn, leads to a smarter, safer, and more efficient railway.

Of course, the process of digital transformation also poses challenges for the industry. It is only through proper planning, sound investment, and considered implementation that the true potential of digital transformation can be realised. 

Here at Nutshell, we’re proud to be playing a central role in the digitalisation of planning and safety procedures. Working alongside OnTrac, we’re providing the mobile capability behind the suite of ground-breaking apps at the core of RailHub. Our no-code app building platform is supporting suppliers working in the rail industry to digitise their processes and remain competitive as the sector undergoes the biggest technological shake-up since the industrial revolution.

For a more in-depth look at the ways digital transformation can reduce fatalities on our railways, download our special report here.