SUMMARY OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS FUTURE SEARCH TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE

The American Association of Railroads (AAR) Research and Test Department is developing a new 5-year plan for its research activities. To begin this process, in March 1993, 71 invited participants attended a conference, entitled "Railroads in the 21st Century: Opportunities for Technological Innovation". A relatively new technique called future search conferencing was used at the meeting. The future search technique is a carefully planned, structured workshop process. It takes advantage of highly participative group brainstorming to build cooperative, mutually supportive goals set by delegates from diverse interest groups. Each stakeholder group soon recognizes that its objectives will be best met by agreeing to a common vision of the future for the industry and working with peer groups to achieve it. Once the sense of common ground is achieved, new concepts, ideas, and the means to achieve the best of them flow. Major conclusions from the conference are summarized in this paper. The first half-day of the conference addressed lessons that could be learned from the past in order to better shape the future. A list of the major events of the railroad industry's past that were identified is attached as an appendix to this paper. Attention was then focused on lessons from the present. Nine distinct, major trends influencing the present and future of the industry were identified. These were: focus on customers, customer satisfaction, reliability, infrastructure performance, improved system engineering--trains and rolling stock, highway congestion, fuel conservation, organized (computerized) information, and technology. The major portion of this paper is a discussion of conference participants' deliberations on these trends.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices;
  • Pagination: p. 1-17
  • Monograph Title: RAILROAD FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH NEEDS. PROCEEDINGS OF A CONFERENCE, BETHESDA, MARYLAND, JULY 12-14, 1993
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00662848
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309055032
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jul 15 1994 12:00AM