A recently completed study examined railway operators perspectives on value-generating and obstacles when exchanging digital resources using digital infrastructure in partnership with the Swedish Transport Administration when utilising the national railway network. The first mechanism identified of three, highlights value-generation of data and information exchange and alignment of different informations system used within the collaboration.
Dozens of people were interviewed who had strategic roles and were responsible for IT infrastructure and integration or worked with strategic traffic planning. The study included Swedish train operators for passenger, freight, public transportation and system suppliers who are business partners with the Swedish Transport Administration. Three overall value-generating mechanisms were identified – interoperability for digital resource, synergetic capabilities and congruent structures.
The general mechanisms of interoperability highlight the value of interchanging digital resources such as digitised business processes and objects across organizational boundaries without specifically configured to do so. The first sub-category describes the importance of harmonised information systems and flexible digital IT infrastructure to coordinate collaboration within the partnership. The current state of the information system used amongst business partners is not sufficiently aligned or flexible to work seamlessly. Which affects everything from operational management such as traffic disruptions to strategic planning of maintenance and resource allocation of railway infrastructure. Because of the fragmented information system they have to manual copy information from different systems to create an overview of the transport system. For example, there are around 30 IT-systems and programs for analyse and diagnose the railway infrastructure only.
The second sub-category mechanism describes the importance of using established open standards for interchanging digital resources, such as data, information and models et cetera. The mechanism depicts the possibility of interchange digital resources and retaining there significance across organization and national borders. This generates value because time and money do not need to be spent on figuring-out the meaning of digital resources. It also contributes to creating context by linking different interpretations of business objects and concepts within and with different business domains. The ability to link self-explanatory digital resources and describe how they are understood and used in different domains is a basic requirement in a digitalized society. Where much of the data is generated by digital services, internet-of-things, vehicles and devices et cetera. The respondents in the study request historical and real-time access to traffic delays and maintenance status, bottlenecks, current speed, temporary speed restrictions, et cetera as interoperable digital resources. This would make it easier to predict traffic flows and use it in digital services that can give commuters better possibility to choose travel alternative with real-time prediction and would benefit the transport system as a whole.