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Will biometric scanning soon revolutionise Britain’s railways?

Rail industry starts to talk about the new technology that could improve our journeys.

By Hannah Williams

Biometric scanning and other innovative technology such as smart trains could soon be making its way onto Britain’s railway.

The Rail Delivery Group says that Bluetooth and biometric ticketing may soon replace the traditional method of ticketing, while new train seats could provide more space and help to minimise overcrowding.

The group has also laid out plans for creating ‘intelligent’ trains, which will run closer together on a digital railway.

It is expected that its new app and software, both of which are currently in development, will eventually give way to biometric technology like fingerprint of iris-scanning to automatically identify and charge customers upon arrival.

Read more: MasterCard launches selfie biometric payments across Europe

Paul Plummer, Chief Executive, Rail Delivery Group said: “The Capability Delivery Plan is an important step in ensuring that the whole railway and its supply chain collaborates efficiently to deliver the digital railway’s wide-ranging benefits, including better services for customers, more and better jobs for our people, and better value for taxpayers.”

The Rail Delivery Group has set out in discussion on the current challenges within the railway sector and how technology can improve it.

The company, along with experts from across the rail industry, developed the railway’s Capability Delivery Plan (CDP) which identifies 12 areas that are expected to improve over the coming years.

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This will include developments which will focus on carrying an increasing number of passengers, improving customer service and also deploying safe, affordable and sustainable ways of performing.

smart ticketingIn order to deploy fast and easy to use ticketing, RDG is encouraging the use of mobile apps to enable passengers to make their way through ticket gates without the need of physical contact; this could also remove the use of paper tickets or credit cards and lead to a reduction in delays and heavy queues that have become common sites at railways across the country.

According to the Railway Group, the creation of new train seats could increase the number of seats in a single carriage by up to 20 to 30 percent.

The hope is that new seats would increase space efficiency and make travelling more comfortable for commuters.

The third suggestion is the introduction of self-regulating trains to avoid conflicts between trains as they travel across the network, it is hoped that this move will create a more frequent service and reduce the number of service delays.

The plans set out by RDG will be aided by the proposed government investment of £450 million which was announced in 2016 to improve rail reliability.

The mobile app and software will be trialed by Arriva UK Trains Company and Chiltern Railways between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone routes during 2017, whereas the new seat designs are expected to be deployed into existing trains within the coming year.

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