streamlining capacity booking for rail traffic

Supporting RNE in its mission to facilitate a more efficient rail traffic across Europe, we created a digital product enabling effortless short-term capacity booking. Our solution ensures that trains can depart as early as 45 minutes after requesting capacity, making rail transport more competitive.
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Embracing trains for a more sustainable transportation

RailNetEurope (RNE) is an umbrella association of European rail Infrastructure Managers working to facilitate international rail traffic. RNE’s mission is to help its members keep up with the challenges of the rapidly changing railway sector. To achieve a more sustainable future in traffic, it is crucial to increase the number of trains in operation. 

The European Union has set ambitious goals, aiming to double the number of high-speed passenger trains by 2030 and freight traffic by 2050. Meeting this growing demand requires not only expanding infrastructure but also utilizing the existing infrastructure more efficiently.

A prompt digital capacity booking system is essential to achieve this. 

While RNE's current digital platform supports long-term capacity planning, in reality, many requests come in on short notice, requiring trains to depart as early as 45 minutes after the request. Making this process quick is no easy task. Almost every country has different national processes, not to mention the number of stakeholders needing to work together during the booking process. 

Addressing this challenge, Supercharge leveraged its design and technical expertise to discover and map out the customer and business needs and technical requirements.

Following the extensive discovery phase, we designed and developed a user-friendly digital system that enables quick and easy short-term capacity booking while also integrating with the national systems used by various parties.

user research and testing
product strategy, UX, and visual design
technology architecture
web development
Intuitive tool with streamlined workflows for an enhanced collaboration between all parties.
Automated national input pairing based on train number, border crossing, and timetable info, eliminating duplicates.
Seamless integration with National Systems due to European standard compliance.

Collaboration of numerous countries generates exceptional complexities

Running a train from A to B requires collaboration among multiple stakeholders. The service provider, the Applicant, who intends to operate the train, must communicate their requirements to the Infrastructure Managers (IMs). The IMs know the ins and outs of the infrastructure's limitations and specifications, such as available capacity, maximum speed, and maximum train weight.

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The Applicants and the IMs negotiate to reach an agreement that enables the train to run.

The reliance on multiple distinct systems throughout this process consumes significant time and places a heavy burden on users. Moreover, the potential for errors is much higher. Hence, there was a pressing need for a unified system that allows users to oversee and manage the entire short-term booking process efficiently.

An intuitive tool bridging nations to simplify collaboration

Our goal was to create a comprehensive platform that covers the entire short-term capacity management process, from requesting to accepting offers. Instead of actively monitoring separate systems, checking emails or making phone calls, Applicants and Infrastructure Managers across Europe can now rely on a single tool that seamlessly facilitates real-time capacity booking.

RNE booking process

The new tool efficiently enables the right parties to take the expected actions in the most intuitive manner possible. 

To ensure everyone is informed about when and how to contribute to keep the capacity booking process flowing smoothly, we've designed a clean interface that simplifies oversight of incoming tasks. 

RNE dashboard
RNE request creation
RNE: offer tracking

The dashboard features two primary areas: one for highlighting areas requiring immediate attention and another for displaying updates regarding ongoing requests.

Another specificity of short-term rail booking requests is that often, the desired route or times are not available due to other trains using the rails at the requested time or due to construction works on the track. In such instances, it becomes crucial to effectively communicate what options are accessible compared to the initial request at a given time. To present this information, we designed a feature that displays what is the difference between the initial request and the offer in a clear and comprehensible manner. 

Empowering infrastructure managers with effortless connectivity with national systems

When designing the platform, we knew that the success of the tool would be highly dependent on how well we could integrate it with already existing local systems that Infrastructure Managers use every day. 

Our solution tackles this challenge well - it seamlessly connects to national systems using a European standard data exchange connection, so IMs can receive and quickly react to requests through their own system.

Simplifying European rail operations

In conclusion, our collaboration with RailNetEurope to develop a streamlined digital platform for short-term capacity booking is a game-changer for the industry. By seamlessly connecting multiple stakeholders in one digital space and integrating with national systems, we have transformed a complex and time-consuming process into an efficient and user-friendly experience.

This project not only contributes to the European Union's ambitious sustainability goals but also fosters smoother cross-border collaboration, ultimately making rail transport more competitive and sustainable for the future.