The UK’s Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) Enabling Innovation Team (EIT) recently announced an exciting £1,000,000 innovation prize competition to spur innovation in areas that will transform the experience of rail customers, in three customer groups: regular passengers, discretionary passengers, and freight customers. The 2013 Rail Customer Experience Competition is underway and will close on July 14, 2013. We recently spoke with Angelique, Trevor, and Peter at the EIT about this exciting initiative.
Hello Team– thanks very much for speaking with us. For those not familiar with the EIT, can you tell us a bit about your work?
The Enabling Innovation Team has been set up by the rail industry’s leadership body – the Technical Strategy Leadership Group (TSLG) – to accelerate innovation. Our mission is to offer support to practical cross-industry demonstrator projects and break down the barriers to innovation, seeking out innovative ideas and proposals to help meet industry challenges.
Often innovation is held back by a circular argument that investment is needed to prove something works but there is risk aversion to investing until that something can be shown to work. Demonstration projects take innovation from a concept and out onto the railway to prove it works and make the case for further investment.
Our vision is to enable a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the whole rail industry to deliver growth for the British economy and a transformational change for the railway. To achieve this, our approach is to understand the challenges that the industry faces, connect potential innovators with these challenges, and where necessary, provide support to enable the innovation, including funding.
What are you looking to achieve with your competition? Can you tell us more about the problems you’re addressing and the goals you’ve set?
We want to help make a real difference for the passengers and freight customers using the railway. We have consulted widely with the UK rail industry, freight companies, and passenger organisations to understand the challenges that the industry and customers face. We identified three groups of customers who face different challenges: regular passengers, discretionary passengers, and freight customers.
Within these three groups, we have targeted a number of specific Challenges. For example, for regular passengers, including commuters, how can we minimize the impact of disruption, help personalise the passenger experience, and improve engagement between train operators and passengers via two-way communication?
The competition asks for innovative ideas to address these Challenges. The best ideas will be rewarded with financial prizes and the opportunity to secure further investment from the EIT to mature the idea.
Full details of all the Challenges are available at here.
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