Print this page

Trafikverket Presents European RFID Concept for a Cross-border and Intermodal Transport Chain

Use Cases | By PR RFID & Wireless IoT Global | 08 December 2015
RFID - from maintenance to logistics RFID - from maintenance to logistics Photo: Swedish Transport Administration

Swedish Transport Administration is planning to extend its UHF track & trace system - European railway organisations and ports could benefit from information exchange

On which train are the goods and where about? Are the train wagons in Sweden or in The Netherlands? Is there imminent danger from overheating wheels? The exchange of this information is relevant for everyone involved in rail freight. The Swedish National Board of Transportation, “Trafikverket,” relies on a comprehensive approach. Based on RFID standards, it goes even further, stating the objective is a cross-border information system which can also benefit harbour freight. In intermodal transport chains, rail is the central interface between seaport and hinterland terminals.

Karl Akerlund, RFID Project Manager at the Swedish Transport Administration, and Gunnar Ivansson, Learning Well in interview with „RFID im Blick“

Several years ago, the Swedish Transport Administration implemented a UHF tracking system for rail wagons in its 13,000 kilometer nationwide rail network. Currently, the system is in an advanced extention stage – also a connection to the port of Gothenburg is already planned.

Comprehensive Track & Trace concept

Trafikverket has already installed a system of more than 180 UHF readers on its rail network. Since January 2015, nearly 4,000 rail vehicles have been equipped with RFID transponders. „The installation of 15O more read points can be expected within the next year,“ says Gunnar Ivansson, consultant at the Agency Learning Well, who has supported the Trafikverket in implementing the solution. „So far, about 25 percent of the rail vehicles are tagged: Our goal, however, is to involve more companies that equip their rail wagons with RFID tags,“ says Karl Akerlund, RFID Project Manager at the Swedish Transport Administration. The idea is to create a data collection and information network on maintenance or freight transport data, that is provided as a service to railway operators, transport companies, and customers.

RFID - from maintenance to logistics

The RFID system includes condition monitoring of wheels and axles. Accurate measurements by means of pressure or temperature sensors can prevent damage to the components. „On one hand, the safety and quality management when transporting dangerous goods is improved, and maintenance costs are reduced. On the other hand, the logistical aspect is interesting. When the RFID tags are registered by the read points we can ascertain exactly how the train and its various wagons are arranged, and in which direction they will arrive. This is important, as some train wagons may be loaded from one side only. We know exactly where the train wagons are,“ says Akerlund. Wagon owners could therefore optimally plan their own processes.

European Concept

Karl ÅkerlundKarl Åkerlund Trafikverket wants to go one step further however, by establishing international partnerships for cross-border traffic: „Rail transport in Europe is international - some 60 percent of all rail wagons originate from other European cities. Therefore, a global approach and global standards have been set right from the start,” says Akerlund. The tag and reader communication is based on EPC standards, and the information exchange is based on EPCIS. The organisation believes that this concept can be applied not only in Sweden, but throughout Europe. In Germany, the Deutsche Bahn already operates a pilot project with the objective to integrate the same concept. „Our goal is the international exchange of information on the current train wagon position, explains Akerlund.

Also seaports are included in the information system

The collected data could be made available even to terminal or port operators, or they can build up their own information system. In the port of Gothenburg, a pilot project with an RFID read point is already in test mode. Trafikverket supports Prorail‘s (the Dutch government agency for rail transport) RFID installation project, and the exchange of information with the port of Rotterdam. The objective is to track and trace freight transport in Sweden, from loading at Gothenburg’s port to the transfer to Dutch railway. „Even seaports may benefit from an RFID-based information system in the future”, says Gunnar Ivansson. “One major benefit is, for example, knowing the correct train configuration of traffic arriving at the port or terminal. Ports or terminals can be informed in advance of the arriving trains and how they are configured to optimise their planning.„

Last modified on Tuesday, 08 December 2015 11:24
PR RFID & Wireless IoT Global RFID im Blick

Online Editors

RFID & Wireless IoT Global
Phone: (+49) 4131-789529 0
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Published at
Das Online-Portal des Fachmagazins "RFID im Blick".