smartrail 4.0: working together to achieve our goals.


Smartrail 4.0 is an industry programme that prioritises and concentrates resources in line with the overall system. The aim of the cooperation is to jointly develop solutions that are supported by the participating railways, working towards an extensive digitisation and automation of railway production. With this focus, smartrail 4.0 will continue to develop standards for the industries that ensure the interoperability of vehicles and systems in particular. This is achieved through joint coordination of technological development, the use of synergies and early coordination of architecture and migration planning. The acquired knowledge is open to all partners. No prior-involvement is generated and no proprietary systems are created. For this reason, smartrail 4.0 also actively cooperates with numerous partners both nationally and internationally (Figure stakeholder world)


Industry collaboration

Swiss rail industry:
smartrail 4.0 is set up as a joint industry programme between SBB, BLS, SOB, RhB and UPT. The cooperation within the Swiss railway industry is already established. The steering committee and the project organisation of smartrail 4.0 are a collaboration of representatives of the Union of Public Transport (UPT), SBB, BLS, SOB and RhB. The other railway companies are integrated into the works via the UPT committees. Representatives of the above-mentioned railways also sit on the four steering committees of planning and operation, system modification, train control and vehicle architecture, both on the infrastructure and transport side.

International rail industry:
International collaboration is hugely important. After all, Switzerland is not looking for an isolated solution. Achieving the goals and leading the railway into the future requires international cooperation. Requirements and a common architecture for major European railways are needed in order to create a competitive market for innovative components and systems and, if necessary, to jointly develop European standards.

For this reason, cooperation with several European railways on specific smartrail 4.0 topics such as the overall architecture, traffic management system and localisation has already been entered into or is currently in development. Important partner railways such as DB, SNCF and ÖBB have also started comparable programmes. In addition, smartrail 4.0 supports the EUG (ERTMS User Group) and EULYNX groups in the development of an overall architecture under the name RCA (recommended CCS architecture). This overall architecture is intended to serve as a basis for tenders for the railways and to improve standardisation.


In order to carry out in-depth investigations, smartrail 4.0 is working together with research institutes in Switzerland and abroad. This may involve direct mandates, PhDs or student work. The following excerpt gives an insight into the topics that have already been addressed:

  • Occupational psychological effects of automation (contract research, FHNW),
  • Traffic management, flux (PhD, ETHZ),
  • Research paper on moving block (Prof. Corman, ETHZ)
  • Capacity planning across all timescales (contract research, ETHZ)
  • Vision-based localization and mapping for high precision localization of trains with on-board sensing (PhD,
  • Robustness of a traffic management system for railways (master’s thesis, RWTH Aachen)
  • Train movement optimisation within time bands using ASP (University of Potsdam)
  • Hazard analysis with STPA (contract, ZHAW)


Industry will continue to be important for the delivery of systems and components in the future. Smartrail 4.0 involves industrial partners in the planning phase for content contributions, since while the programme defines the architecture and functions, industry develops and implements applications, systems and/or products. Smartrail 4.0 relies on established and new industrial partners to develop solutions and products. In order to optimise cooperation and availability on the market, industrial partners are therefore constantly involved in the progress of the work by the programme. Exchange platforms such as industry and innovation days are set up to promote exchanges and cooperation. In addition, new work statuses are constantly being published on the website and on simap. There will be traditional calls for tenders for the test and rollout phase.