Environment and Sustainability, Intermodal, Rollingstock & Manufacturing, Signalling & Communications, Track & Civil Construction, Workforce

A sustainable footprint for the future

Imagine a world where transport systems do not result in carbon emissions.  

A reality in which commuters drive electric cars; or ride a scooter to a train station, where hydrogen-powered locomotives take them to their destinations; or hail for an autonomous cab to carry them across town. 

Such a scenario may well exist in the near future, but for the moment, transport solutions leader Siemens Mobility is doing its best to achieve that vision by ensuring that sustainability is at the core of all its operations.   

Indeed, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) recently ranked Siemens as the most sustainable company in the world its industry group, leading in six categories including innovation and cybersecurity as well as industry- and product-related environmental protection.   

The DJSI is a globally established ranking prepared annually by the investment company Standard & Poor’s on behalf of index provider Dow Jones. Siemens has been included in this ranking every year since 1999, when the DJSI was first published.   

As Siemens Mobility Australia and NZ Chief Executive Officer Raphaelle Guerineau explains, Siemens is very conscious about its role, striving earnestly to become a benchmark in environmental and social governance.     

“The potential is huge. Today 90 per cent of the rail movements are done on electricity. And a lot of companies are also looking at aiming at being carbon neutral for 2030,” she said.   

“To achieve those targets, we must switch to solutions now to reduce carbon emissions.”  

Steps to a sustainable future include: 

  • Saving natural resources: efficient use of materials and energy in value chain are crucial to save natural resources 
  • Achieving more with less: ecodesign principles are used to increase material efficiency and share recycled materials, but also to avoid toxic resources 

Circular economy principles should also be used, to extend product life cycles by focusing on repairability, reusability and refurbishment. 

“Driven by the megatrends of urbanisation, digitisation, globalisation, and demographic change, the demand for mobility will continue to increase rapidly,” Guerineau said.  

“The mobility sector has to adapt to constantly changing market conditions. At the same time, there is an intensifying need to mitigate climate change, as well as the depletion of natural resources, to shape a sustainable and livable future.  

“As a company, we support our customers in optimising carbon-neutral passenger and freight transport, from door to door, in cities, and in-between, with rolling stock, rail infrastructure, intermodal solutions, rail services, and turnkey solutions.  

“We play our part by utilising energy-efficient products and accelerating alternative propulsion systems that use battery or hydrogen technology. Our customers also enjoy the benefits of increased asset value through our lifecycle management strategy, which in turn reduces the ecological footprint of their operations.” 

Energy efficiency   

Siemens leads the way in rail electrification systems that efficiently control the optimum use of power.   

It is already delivering advanced train control technologies with a high degree of automation that achieves the desired service levels but with the optimum use of train capacity and energy consumption.    

Efficient planning means fewer trains or more efficiently loaded trains to deliver the desired service. Those trains are then driven in the most energy efficient manner to achieve that service level, eg smoothing the peaks.  

Wherever possible, the trains use softer acceleration, coasting and maximisation of braking regeneration to recover energy.  

“The electrification infrastructure we supply are amongst the world’s most advanced – intelligent and efficient in their own right. When that is coupled with the train control system power usage can be tracked and used as an input to train driving strategies,” Guerineau said. 

One example of an autonomous product is Siemens’ Trainguard (both for communication-based and European Train control systems) with automatic train operation to efficiently drive trains automatically and improve energy utilisation.   

Increased automation means that the responsibility for operations management gradually shifts from drivers and dispatchers to the system – resulting in increased flexibility as well as improved performance, reliability, and maintainability.    

When electrification isn’t viable for regional or local routes, Siemens has developed a new platform which allows operators to fully decarbonise these operations efficiently and economically.  

As a climate-friendly transportation, transition is essential for dealing with climate change, and hydrogen will be a key lever for train operators to grow sustainably in the next 10 years. Benefits include lower operational costs due to falling energy costs, and lower maintenance efforts compared to diesel trains.  

Siemens has also devised a completely new system architecture using next-generation fuel cells and high-performance batteries which offer lower energy consumption, high drive power and thus shorter journeys than diesel equivalents. Across Europe, hydrogen-powered and battery-run trains were already starting to replace diesel engines. 

“Introducing more battery and hydrogen-powered trains will call for substantial investment, commitment and coordination between government agencies, infrastructure managers and train operators. There are clear benefits for those stakeholders and for the passenger, and these technologies bring the transportation sector a step closer to the goal of decarbonisation,” Guerineau said. 

Raphaelle Guerineau, Siemens CEO for Australia and New Zealand.

Siemens also carries out predictive maintenance to extend the life of the equipment.   

The process typically involves three distinct types of operational data: 

  • Maintenance data, sourced from computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) 
  • Asset data, including the make and model of installed equipment, required parts and service schedules 
  • Performance data, such as comfort readings, energy consumption and CO2 emissions 

Once these data sets are brought together, they are evaluated with powerful cloud-based algorithms that generate analytics which help operators achieve their objectives. 

Intermodal considerations  

Rail is currently far and away the most sustainable of all transport modes, but with other systems not as well-equipped for carbon reductions, passengers must first choose to travel by rail for benefits to be maximised.    

A train runs 180,000 kilometres per year over 30 years, transporting exponentially more people than a car, and the train uses up to 30 times less resource in the process. 

“Journeys are often multi-modal, involving segments via taxis, ferries and even bicycles as well as various forms of heavy rail,” Guerineau said.   

“Good sustainability outcomes require they choose to use the most efficient mode for the maximum possible part of their journey.    

“An important element in that choice is having easy access to good quality information that lets them plan, book and travel across all available modes.”   

This is the aim of Siemen’s Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform, which uses smartphone technology as the shop window to an integrated and coordinated planning, booking and tracking system that gives real time information on the selected journey, including the effects of disruptions.    

It provides revised recommendations for the remainder of the journey if circumstances change. All those journey recommendations can be optimised for sustainability outcomes.   

“It can also provide vehicle loading data so passengers can choose to avoid crowded modes, currently a particular customer concern,” Guerineau said.   

“An advanced MaaS system improves the convenience and dependability of sustainable travel and enhances customer preference for using the system.”  

  • DB Navigator 

The MaaS system DB Navigator, developed by Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Siemens Mobility, is used throughout Germany to provide comprehensive travel data, from real-time information to the current coach sequence and notifications of changes to journeys. 

The perfect companion for regional and long-distance travel as well as for the underground, tram and bus, the app can be downloaded for free for immediate use. It easily calculates intermodal routes including park and ride, park and charge, and bike sharing information. 

Its benefits include paperless travel, the ability to quickly check on lowest prices for long-distance, regional and international travel, notifications of delays, track changes and timetable changes, and convenient and quick booking. 

DB Navigator has already had in excess of 30 million downloads. 

AusRAIL PLUS  

Siemens is involved in several Australian rail projects, including turnkey operations across Sydney, and Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop.   

It has a significant presence at AusRAIL, where it will exhibit its products including the Inspiro. Guerineau will also be participating in panel discussions. 

DB NAVIGATOR 

  • +30 million downloads 
  • Operator has full control of data 
  • Calculation of intermodal routes including park and ride, park and charge, bike sharing 
  • Emission-based calculation 
  • Real-time notification for users 
  • Integrated payment options 

Benefits for transport customers 

  • Increased revenue for operators 
  • Cost savings 
  • Customer retention and satisfaction 

Benefits for customers 

  • Seamless booking of inventory-based transportation 
  • Hassle-free payment and refund experience