In Europe, the technology development of high-speed trains is increasingly exposed to societal needs, driven by ICT advancements, external to traditional design. Together with the liberalisation of the rail markets and increase pressures from other transport modes leads to an unprecedented situation where planers, operators and suppliers of high-speed have to take decision in this complex and competitive environment.
In such broadening of elements influencing design and, thus, product development process, from the survey here to be presented, it was not observed technology options assessment or strategic agenda setting from visions shifting in the same way.
For the high-speed train industry this new trend requires going beyond the visions of the past 15 to 20 years’ practices of “sector endogenous” and structurally closed strategic methods approaches to a broader interaction with the widening of societal actors now capable of being active contributors to innovation from digitalization.
This way to understand the European industry readiness for undertaking such supra systemic challenge, this paper presents the results from a survey conducted by the authors to 74 representatives of the high-speed train innovation chain regarding to which extent societal embedding is considered in the drafting of their visions and technology development projects.
This work becomes even more pertinent if considered that the debate is now open in the railway industry (not exclusive to high-speed trains) as they are launching the joint initiative SHIFT2RAIL, revise ERRAC (the European Rail Research Advisory Council) mandate and enter in a new research cycle with the European research framework Horizon 2020.