Future of Rail 2050

In a future where 75% of people live in cities, the world’s population stands at 9.5 billion and there are advances in technology that can only be dreamed about today, the Future of Rail 2050 takes a user's perspective and explores how rail travel might change for passengers and freight.

  • What are the megatrends that will influence the way people live, work, travel and consume information in the future?
  • How will infrastructure and rail systems cope with the rising demand for passenger and freight capacity?
  • How will rail fare in a world experiencing an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events?

Changes will be driven by the evolving needs and expectations of future passengers.

  • Passengers will expect a service that includes level access, no waiting, smart ticketing, personal security, and effortless planning.
  • Stations of the future will be destinations in their own right, with extensive business and leisure facilities
  • Rail services will focus on the total journey, as passengers seek out the trip that offers the most efficient means of getting from A to B.
  • For freight rail, improved transit times and consistent reliability are key to the viability of the rail industry in the long term.
  • Automated and driverless trains will increasingly provide efficient and reliable solutions to freight and passenger transport.

In the past, we have witnessed rail’s power to stimulate and drive economic growth. In some parts of the world it's seen as essential for economic diversification and supporting policy, and can be a catalyst for regeneration.

The Future of Rail 2050 is a thought piece created by Arup Rail and Foresight + Research + Innovation, with input from contributors from across the world.


Future of Rail 2050