DelftRail defines its research agenda in three major themes:
Increasing capacity: the number of passengers using railway transport is forecasted to grow by 30% in 10 years until 2030. At the same time, both nationally and on a European level, the goal is to move more freight to rail. Especially for the Netherlands, with its dense and already intensively used railway network, this presents major challenges, e.g. scheduling, impact on the surroundings and safety.
Improving asset management: proper functioning assets are key to securing the capacity and safety of the network and rolling stock. The trend towards more intensive use of the railway network puts pressure on both inspecting and maintaining the assets. Developing smart preventive maintenance and maintenance scheduling is key.
Reducing the CO2- and energy footprint: As part of the energy transition, railway operators will have to integrate renewable energy sources, and possibly CO2-neutral fuels, in their operations. At the same time, energy consumption must be reduced. The latter can conflict with for instance the goals for increased capacity and therefore balanced solutions must be found.