Enabling digital rail to deliver next generation mobility

Harnessing digital technology to create efficiencies, optimise performance and enhance sustainability for the rail sector. Our digital railways solutions provide our clients with better control by optimising time and resources, ultimately delivering a reliable, safe and more comfortable customer experience.
Sky building with night view lighting

The digital revolution

The rail industry is on a journey towards digitalisation. To achieve its potential to become the preferred mode of travel, rail has to become more competitive in terms of reliability, performance and service models. Digital technology is a key enabler for this step change.

Over the coming months and years, digital technology will help to radically improve network capacity, asset optimisation – and much more – in rail networks across the globe. Closer to home, adopting the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) will propel major growth by assuring safe train operations, increasing efficiency of rail transport and enhancing interoperability across Europe. Automatic Train Operation (ATO), using ERTMS as backbone, will allow for a higher frequency of train services and less energy consumption. Driverless trains will generate greater positive impact on safety and efficiencies hence improving the competitive position of rail transportation in the long term.

Enhance your insight into Digital rail and BIM

Royal HaskoningDHV collaborates with ProRail, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) to organise a series of knowledge exchange events to share best practices in accelerating digital rail. The most recent edition was a webinar entitled 'BIM for Rail’ which dived into insights about BIM and its application in railways. An illustrious line-up of speakers shared insights on a range of aspects regarding the current and future use of BIM in railway design, construction and maintenance projects. The migration from BIM models to Rail Digital Twins was a trending topic in the webinar and the chat.

Enabling digital rail to deliver next generation mobility

Going digital today

Our application of automated engineering and parametric design allows us to determine creative design options for our clients in shorter timeframes. Using augmented reality through HoloLens technology for example, we can provide a virtual experience of a design before it’s built, allowing for more effective stakeholder management.
All our projects are designed and executed using BIM as standard. which helps avoid errors and reduce rework. By working together based on agreed standards and interfaces, building becomes more efficient and less expensive. We have deployed the use of digital twins in our asset management approach.
By applying advanced data analytics we can predict future revenues and demands, to feed into financial models, assessing variants for life cycle cost optimisation.

Asset management will be based on valuable information to examine the use and wear and tear of assets. Maintenance will be based on predictive models using digital twins, multiple sensor inputs, IoT and remote sensing technologies. Smart algorithms will deliver higher availability.


Digital technology will support Europe’s move to ERTMS, boost train operations and extend the performance of rail infrastructure. It is key to autonomous train operation (ATO), which is already being adopted in rail in the form of driverless metros and people-movers, followed by experiments in heavy haul freight.

Digital Twin

We have created a digital twin of the Dutch rail network, enabling us to simulate performance under new timetables, or changes to speed profiles and infrastructure. By connecting different data sets to the digital twin and using machine learning and A.I. algorithms, we enable predictive asset management and give insights into future operational models.

Rail's digital future

Our eyes are also on tomorrow and how digital technology will help rail operators continue to evolve and adapt in the future.

We connect the rail ecosystem through digital ways of working and new digital services. Connecting in this way will be essential in preparing for new standards such as ERTMS.

As cities continue to expand, rail and metro operators must seek new solutions to maximise the capacity of their infrastructure and their fleet to gain more value from rail assets. Our digital solutions, augmented by a team of public transport and planning experts, complement our extensive knowledge in both the engineering and rail sectors. We enable clients to turn data into meaningful insights and action so that they can be more effective and efficient in their operations. This will in turn help resolve the capacity crunch and embed rail more effectively as part of our multimodal transport network in the future.

Championing sustainability

At Royal HaskoningDHV we are always seeking to help society transition to a cleaner and more sustainable economy.

We are keen to help every stakeholder invested in the rail sector to create a more circular economy. From deployment of solar panels and gentle braking to the reuse of water, we provide innovative solutions that optimise resources and eliminate waste.

One example of this is our work with the Municipality of Delft in the Netherlands, a sustainability pioneer. Together with our partners, we have designed the first energy neutral station.

The transition to greener energy is a major priority in many markets worldwide, and we are guiding our clients to harness the opportunities in efficiency and responsibility so they can adopt more sustainable practices.

two railway platforms with a stationary train in the middle.

Making rail freight more competitive using Automatic Train Operation (ATO)

Using a smarter digital train signaling system (ERTMS) as its backbone – which allows more train movements on a given route with greater control – Automatic Train Operation (ATO) can enable rail freight operations to optimise speed, increase capacity and meet the projected shortfall in skilled train operators.

From technical concept design to seamless operations, execution and insights into legislation and regulations, find out how our team at Royal HaskoningDHV is helping to design the implementation roadmap for ATO application on the vital Dutch Betuweroute. Running till 2025, this cross-border pilot will enable rail infrastructure managers and operators to make rail freight a more competitive and indispensable part of our sustainable and future-proof transport network.

Digital Rail l Royal HaskoningDHV
Peter Boom - Director Rail asset management and digitisation


Director Rail asset management and digitisation