The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) have appointed Synergies Economic Consulting to lead a new research project to streamline approvals in the rail industry.

The project is expected to identify opportunities to save time and money by adopting a more nationally consistent, standardised process.

ARA Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, welcomed the collaborative project, which would highlight the inefficiencies faced by the industry and justify the need to review and harmonise type approval processes.

“Different type approvals processes are in use across the country and can add cost and complexity to rail operations,” Ms Wilkie said.

“This research will provide a clear pathway to achieving a national approach to support improved efficiency in the industry.”

RISSB Chief Executive Officer, Deborah Spring, said the research would build on efforts to achieve greater harmonisation in the rail industry.

“Approvals processes are regularly cited as being cumbersome, expensive and a barrier to innovation; this seminal work will begin to explore how we can make improvements while improving safety,” Ms Spring said.

The project addresses key actions in the ARA’s Rail Supply Chain Blueprint, which recommended developing a clearer understanding of the impact of current type approvals processes.

It will also support a national type approvals working group led by Transport for NSW to develop nationally agreed principles and support greater innovation in the industry.

The findings will assist in informing RISSB’s review of Australian Standard 7702 Rail Equipment Type Approval during the year.

A report on the research project’s findings is expected to be released in June 2022.

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