If the Rail Delivery Group report comes to fruition, then we could be about to experience technology playing a much bigger role in our journeys.

Whilst some online ticketing services already enable you to travel with tickets stored in their app, the RDG is looking at, amongst other things, how technology could streamline ticket purchasing (through biometric technology) and the way that we price and charge for travel (through Bluetooth).

Digital signalling could also increase the capacity of the network, something that is greatly needed. 


Interesting challenges will exist around data, particularly as we move to a new era of regulation under the General Data Protection Regulation.  As some of the tweets that I've selected on the right hand side show, there is some online concern/scepticism as to the possibility of greater data collection and sharing, and so thought must be given as to what data is collected, how it is used and shared, the steps taken to keep it secure and how customers are informed about all of that.

There's the potential here to not only be collecting biometric information but also potentially looking much more closely at location data and tracking user journeys, learning patterns of travel etc.

If customers are uncomfortable with this, will train companies make use of this technology mandatory or will customers still be able to choose, if they wish, to carry traditional tickets?

With this in mind, whilst money has been put aside to explore some of these ideas, even if those trials are successful, big challenges will remain as to how initiatives are rolled out across franchises, and how customers are informed so that the technology benefits really are realised.