TNO is consortium manager of the H2020 Smart-Rail project. The Smart-Rail project aims at improving rail freight services offered to shippers, focusing on reliability, lead time, costs, flexibility and visibility. In this 3 year project TNO cooperates with 17 partners covering the full logistics chain.


The aim of the European Railway Agency (ERA) is to construct a safe, modern integrated railway network. The overall target is that railways become more competitive to other transport modes and seek and offer high-quality, end-to-end services without being restricted by national borders.

To achieve the necessary modal shift from road to rail, the rail sector faces an unprecedented challenge of providing the capacity for affordable and attractive services required to enable this modal shift. The current European rail freight market is a complex system involving a great number of different public and private stakeholders, such as infrastructure managers, rail operators, terminal operators and freight forwarders who jointly manage the operation of running trains from A to B.

The Smart-Rail project is aligned with the objectives of SHIFT2RAIL and will ensure that the results can be used in further research in this programme.


  • To contribute to a mental shift of the rail sector toward a client oriented and supply chain focus.
  • To develop working business models for cooperation of different stake-holders.
  • To develop a methodology and architecture for exchange of data/information required for the optimisation  process, between stake-holders, making use of existing initiatives where available (for instance the European Corridor Management and national logistical information centers).
  • To establish three Continuous Improvement Tracks that each focus on different aspects and markets and implement the developed tools, methodologies and concepts. The purpose of these Tracks is to test and improve the innovative measures in a real life situation. Specific and more dedicated business models, information systems and new rail services will be tested.

Continuous Improvement Tracks (a.k.a. Living Labs):

  • Dedicated services; Wagonload trains.
    This Continuous Improvement Track aims to create and validate a concept for wagon-load trains on two corridors that has proven to be most effective with the support of the stakeholders involved.
  • Managing connectivity of rail with other modes; Control tower for long distance rail freight transport.
    This Continuous Improvement Track aims to increase the flexibility and reliability of rail freight transport within a multimodal transport system by sharing the right information at the right point in time with the right partners in the supply and transport chain.
  • Reliability of rail and (unexpected) obstructions on the track.
    This Track aims to increase the reliability for both planned and unplanned disruptions and to increase the visibility of the supply chain. Solutions will be tested on the Rotterdam-Genua corridor.
Smart-Rail kick-off participants


Panteia, Port of Rotterdam, Seacon Logistics, Ederlog, Unireseach, BD Rail services, Railistics, Zaragossa Logistics Center, ProRail, TOI, H_LOG, ECG, Tankmatch Rail, ABIRAIL, CER, Ecco, ITC.

Up-to-date information and options for cooperation can be found on the website

Interested: check our website

Smart-Rail website

Sustainable Transport and Logistics

In the Sustainable Transport & Logistics department, we help make the transportation of goods and people more efficient and sustainable. In the logistics sector, we help accelerate innovation by conducting... Read more