Challenge 7 - Possibilities for inventing new international business opportunities in Railway sector, enabled by developing international open data standards (BIM)


Description of the challenge

Travelling by rail is between three and ten times less CO2-intensive compared with road or air transport. Therefore, it is considered as a key element in reducing the carbon footprint of urban travel, medium and long-distance journeys, as well as goods transport.

Most governments are now promoting the development of the railway network, setting high demands on impacts of the near future investments and fighting for the liberation of data and against vendor locks.

The average annual market size of the rail technology industry between 2018 and 2020 was estimated at 114 billion euros on average. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.6 percent to reach an average annual value of 125 billion euros between 2021 and 2023. 


Building Information Modelling (BIM) is about modelling and improving information flow throughout the construction lifecycle.  Originally, the term applied to building construction projects, but it now encompasses infrastructure through to operations and maintenance.  


The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is a standard for openBIM data exchange. The IFC data model is intended to describe architectural, building and construction industry data. It is a platform neutral, open file format specification. 
Non-proprietary information exchange in infrastructure projects will now be covered through an extension if the IFC file format specification, IFC4.3. The main purpose of IFC4.3 is to extend the IFC schema to cover the description of infrastructure constructions within the domains of Railways, Roads, Ports and Waterways including the elements that are common across those domains. 


A number of major infrastructure owners and other stakeholders are committed to the development and deployment of the new schema extension. The railway specific extension (IFC Rail) covers the domains of railway signalling, track, railway energy systems and railway telecommunication.


IFC 4.3 is now in the validation and implementation phase. What solution or technology would enable / bring immediate advantages globally to road-  and rail administrations, contractors, designers, maintenance and citizens?



Video related to the challenge

Introduction to the video:

Benchmarking the Current Status, Expectations and Goals of BIM Utilization at Railways in the Nordics and Central Europe

In this webinar you will learn about:

  • Rail infrastructure companies
  • The general conditions and requirements for BIM
  • BIM utilisation at the railway companies
  • The biggest challenges in asset management
  • Key success factors of BIM for the railways
  • Important messages from the rail industry
  • And much more...



Marion Schenkwein, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency

Tiina Perttula, Ramboll Finland

Karin Anderson, Trafikverket

Peter Axelsson, Trafikverket

Lars Wikström, Triona

Pingoud Marc, RPAG

Juha Liukas, Sitowise