Telematics: Tell-All TrackingWritten by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
RAILWAY AGE, MAY 2023 ISSUE: Experts say the global rail market could exceed $13 billion in 10 years.
The branch of information technology that deals with the long-distance transmission of computerized information, telematics is the focus of intense research and testing. The real-time, continuous tracking and health monitoring of railcars and locomotives, it’s considered essential to the industry’s long-term growth and safety. Are railroads and customers ready for telematics? How long to wide-scale adoption?
The global railway telematics market, according one research firm, is projected to exceed $13 billion by 2033, at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 7.1%. Key players in the North American market include Nexxiot, the RailPulse™ consortium (TrinityRail, The Greenbrier Companies, GATX, Railinc, Genesee & Wyoming, Union Pacific/UP, Norfolk Southern, Watco, and Railroad Development Corp.), Wi-Tronix, Amsted Digital Solutions, and IntelliTrans. TrintyRail independently offers its Trinsight™ technology. Globally, Siemens AG, Alstom SA, Knorr-Bremse AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, Hitachi Ltd., Intermodal Telematics, Intrex Telematics, ORBCOMM, Rail Nova and Savvy Telematics have a strong presence.
Future Market Insights
“All the business sectors providing the solutions and services that go along with smart technology in railway transportation are anticipated to expand rapidly in the near future,” says Future Market Insights, Inc. “Additionally, the ability to make quick decision-making for matters like asset deployment, use, and maintenance of railcars has increased the adoption of railway telematics across all countries. Moreover, new technologies have become a necessity to make the freight and logistics sector more effective and superior. The adoption of railway telematics, including monitoring of refrigeration wagons and forecasted arrival times for every other railcar is the key factor driving the market in present times.
“The U.S. holds an 18.5% share of the global railway telematics market. Owing to the presence of many leading OEM industries, the overall revenue generated in the year 2023 is estimated to be around $1.2 billion.
“Germany constitutes the largest regional market for railway telematics in Europe and offers plenty of room for further expansion. The country accounts for close to 4.7% of the money made by providing railway telematics services globally.
“The U.K. comes in second after Germany as the regional market for adoption of railway telematics for freight management. This country is projected to witness a growth rate of 3.3% annually.
“China is the leading market among the Asia Pacific countries in railway telematics components as well as services. China is projected to register a higher CAGR of 4.3% from 2023 to 2033.
“Japan is also a significant contributor to the Asia Pacific railway telematics market, with a 5.2% share of the global market. With advanced component manufacturers as well as excellent service providers, this country is estimated to generate revenue of $349 million in 2023.
“India is the world’s fastest-growing railway telematics market. Through 2033, the region is expected to grow at a 5.4% pace thanks to domestic railway infrastructure expansion projects and improved export capabilities.
“Australia has garnered enough traction in the global railway telematics business recently, having a strong export potential for Southeast Asian countries and other nations. This nation, with a sizable rail transit system, is thought to account for around 2.3% of overall worldwide income.
“From 2023 to 2033, the sensor component segment is expected to grow at a higher rate than any other segment, acquiring a nearly 45.5% overall market share.”
Following are just a few examples of recent telematics applications in the North American freight rail industry:
- According to TTX Director of Fleet Telematics Marketing John Woodcock, the company has begun installing Nexxiot GPS devices on its new-build TBOX high-capacity boxcar fleet. TTX will also be retrofitting existing TBOX boxcars as they cycle through the shop. The company expects as many as 1,700 boxcars to be equipped in 2023 and will also be equipping several hundred multi-level autorack railcars. TTX says installation of the GPS devices is straightforward and involves welding a bracket to the car and pairing the device to the car ID. The devices transmit location frequently via the cellular network on a set schedule, “resulting in greater visibility.” All telematics applications, TTX says, will comply with the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) remote monitoring equipment installation standards.
- UP, through its involvement in RailPulse, is accelerating use of GPS and other telematics technologies “to increase shipment visibility and enhance the customer experience, ultimately attracting more shippers.” During initial testing, RailPulse members like UP will analyze the data to help make improvements to the platform before its larger launch this year. Once launched, GPS and telematics data will be available on a dashboard and through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), “making it easy for customers to view the data they care about most,” UP notes. “The effort is part of an industry focus to improve visibility down to the track level while generating efficiencies to improve rail competitiveness vs. truck. This year, 50 railcars equipped with a GPS device are being released onto our network, providing real-time information and visibility of the car’s location, condition and health to shippers, railcar owners and railroads. After the pilot is complete, we will look to expand the RailPulse program to our entire fleet.”
- IntelliTrans has partnered with AllTranstek to improve railcar maintenance tracking by integrating the company’s data into its Global Visibility Platform (GVP), allowing clients to “know which cars need maintenance, when and where to get it, minimizing downtime. With direct integration into GVP, all maintenance records, repair and operational costs, fleet data, lease information, and more are housed within a single system, maximizing productivity.”