Can regenerative energy sources be tapped for rail traffic too? To answer this question, the experts at Fraunhofer Rail use system models; these take into account not only costs which would be incurred by infrastructure operators, and supply reliability, but also the innovation and risk potential of the alternative energy sources and the environmental consequences of their use.
Tariff systems for the use of rail sections should be neutral in terms of their effect on the competition and commercially viable. Taking these requirements into account, Fraunhofer Rail advises infrastructure operators on the development of tariff systems, which are examined for the effect they will have in terms of cost, yield and sensitivity analysis. If a tariff system is also to be geared to environmental needs, the experts calculate the external costs which will be incurred by environmental damage and damage to health so that they can be passed on to the users who cause that damage via the tariffs.
Sound-absorbing walls are essential for noise protection along railway lines. Fraunhofer Rail researches new materials featuring high durability and many different design options, and micro-perforated components which combine sound-absorbing qualities with transparency – a novelty in noise protection. To combat noise from work sites, by contrast, the researchers tend to go for inflatable noise protection elements made of plastic film and membranes which can be deployed flexibly and installed quickly.