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How increased digitalisation in rail can attract more passengers

Today’s global challenges mean that it is now more important than ever to encourage more passengers to choose a sustainable mode of transport. However, it is no longer enough to just provide comfort during a journey, as operators must also look to improve the passenger experience end to end, from source to destination.

Monika Singh, Product Manager for Passenger Experience shines a spotlight on what train operators can do to attract more passengers to their services by taking advantage of the increased digitalisation of the industry, including through improved connectivity and better passenger information systems.

“In today’s current climate, many countries have set the goal to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases which would not be possible without the contribution of the public transport sector. The rail industry plays an important role in this; rail transport was always a great part of public transport and will continue to be in the future. Whether it is used to commute to the office by using city trams or to travel to visit friends and family in different countries by travelling via long distance trains, rail is fulfilling the purpose of travellers for a variety of reasons. Due to this, train operators are expanding their network, but is it enough to attract more passengers?

When passengers travel, they seek reliability and punctuality in the mode of transport they choose. For this reason, using their own car is likely to win over choosing a sustainable mode of public transport. Over and above reliability, factors including low cost and comfortable seating can increase the flow of passengers leaning towards using public transport more regularly. Cost is not always monetary, it can also include the length of travel time to reach the destination as this can be a consideration factor for passengers depending on their plans. Train operators need to creatively consider ways that they can give travel time back to passengers as an encouraging factor. The use of the latest technology and digitalisation trends can help to achieve this goal and to build trust with passengers. For example, providing uninterrupted WiFi on-board will allow passengers to use their travel time in a more productive manner, i.e. preparing for an upcoming meeting or completing an assignment on the way to an Educational Institute. Reliable and uninterrupted WiFi is a draw for passengers.”

“As a transport connectivity specialist, Nomad Digital provides rail connectivity through on-board WiFi to support operators in offering a seamless passenger experience to its customers. This can also help operators give travel time back to their passengers with additional on-board rail entertainment functionality via the Nomad Digital Engage Portal. With the Engage Portal, passengers can enjoy the latest film, read the daily newspaper on their way to work, listen to podcasts and relaxing music, or any combination of these entertainment options during their journey; a trip from A to B can feel more enjoyable and potentially productive.

With the Nomad Digital On-Board Information System (OBIS), passengers can both relax and be informed along their journey. OBIS is a passenger information system that serves up to date journey information in front of passengers via on-train displays and on their own devices. It provides information about delays, arrival times and station connections to name a few, so that passengers can choose alternative modes of transport if required to arrive at their destination on time, for example: an alternative train or bus. This can allow passengers to make informed decisions along their journey that suit them, helping to minimise the frustration of delays and cancellations and attracting more passengers to rail travel in the future.”

“In addition, to increase the accessibility of public transport, Nomad Digital’s OBIS also has multi-language public announcement and operational message functionality to communicate journey information.

With continued digitalisation in rail, operational centre staff could be informed within a matter of seconds of a cancellation and corrective actions could be taken before any major inconvenience therefore protecting the overall experience of the passenger.”

“In summary, today’s global challenges increases the responsibility of public transport to encourage more passengers to choose a sustainable mode of transport. It is not enough to provide comfort during a journey, as operators must also look to improve the passenger experience end to end, from source to destination, which is only possible when all transport providers work together. No matter how a passenger chooses to take their next step in their journey, whether it be bus, bike, taxi or other mode of transport, it can be achieved with the help of technology and real-time information. Furthermore, journey information being available on the passenger’s own handheld devices appeals to ultimate convenience and increases confidence in travelling by public transport.”


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