Roland Berger: Innovative offerings boost rail industry

28 January 2015

Developing innovative mobility offerings provides good business for the rail industry, concludes a survey by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants among rail executives. The respondents see in particular possibilities in intermodal smartphones applications and e-tickets. The survey also shows that around a quarter feels that they cannot go forward alone in the world of mobility offerings and more than a third prefers to partner up with other companies.

Strategy consulting firm Roland Berger recently released its annual ‘Executive Rail Radar’ for which it researched the key issues on the top of rail executives’ minds as well as particular issues. For the report, the firm surveyed clients in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

Innovative mobility services
The report highlights the main interest of its rail clients in this year’s survey: innovative mobility services, which, according to the respondents of the survey, present good business opportunities for Europe’s rail industry. About a quarter of respondents anticipate an increased demand for intermodal smartphones applications, a fifth expect a strong development in electronic ticketing, and 12% foresees mobility passes* to gain popularity. “The relevance of integrated mobility offerings in our survey goes to show that Europe's rail managers can see good opportunities for future growth here,” comments Andreas Schwilling, Partner at Roland Berger.

Impact of new offers on future travelling behaviour

“The focus in the short term is to leverage these tools to enable genuine intermodality, i.e. putting together all the existing transport offerings, from booking to ticketing to passenger information to after-sales,” says François Guénard, Principal at Roland Berger, “With customer satisfaction as the first expected benefit.” Over a quarter (27%) of respondents say their main goal of current mobility initiatives is higher satisfaction, followed by growth of their own business as a result of additional services (16%), and cost reduction (15%).

Main goals of current mobility initiatives

The companies have different strategies going forward, almost a fifth says to stick to its traditional core business and around a third prefers to develop its own innovative offerings. However, the research also shows that although Europe’s rail companies do see themselves as important integrators within the mobility world around a quarter of rail managers feel they are not able to fulfil this role alone. Almost 40% say they are in favour of partnering with other firms, a move that, according to Roland Berger fits in the possibilities as the market will change with other industries entering. “Companies from different industries like IT and telecommunications as well as financial services are going to start pushing into the mobility market. Rail operators need to prepare for this kind of market transformation now,” concludes Schwilling.

Strategic levers to play a key role in mobility

* Mobility passes are monthly passes for public transportation that also provides additional possibilities, such as access to car sharing and ride sharing offerings or reduced-rate taxi journeys.