Promising solutions for railway operations to cope with future challenges — Tackling COVID and beyond

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a dramatic effect on the mobility habits of both passengers and freight in the rail sector. Since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions worldwide, rail transport has been revitalised gradually. However, the new normal emerges with unprecedented issues, such as changed travel behaviour, lost profits, and a lack of personnel. In this paper, we determine the arising challenges due to COVID-19 and pandemics in general and subsequently propose several solutions to tackle these challenges in rail transport. These solutions cover multidisciplinary aspects such as passenger demand management, freight demand management, service design, automation, decentralisation and advanced railway technologies. By reviewing the relevant literature on COVID-19, public transport and particularly rail transport, we synthesise and identify promising lines of research that should devote more attention to a more efficient, effective and sustainable rail transport service. This paper provides policymakers, researchers, railway infrastructure managers and undertakings with an overview and an outlook for the impacts of the pandemic crisis and similar situations. It supports decision-making with more evidence and facilitates rail transport to restore its performance and reach its societal goal.


Original languageEnglish
Article number100405
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Rail Transport Planning and Management
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-4111-2255/work/145224169
WOS 001075675000001
ORCID /0000-0002-1424-5741/work/150329843