The Transportation Research Board (TRB) conference is being held in Washington, D.C. this week, and one of the panels, “The Future of North American Freight Rail Transportation,” focused on the role of technology in the industry’s future.
FreightWaves reports that the panel considered how all industry stakeholders can benefit from the industry’s advancing technology. For example, new technology being used by the industry improves safety and operations, but what about shippers and labor?
Mike O’Malley, president of the Railway Supply Institute, said that the technology is good for rail operations, but it’s role in increasing business “is the real question. Can you meet shippers’ needs in a modern way, based on current expectations, and can you build your business?”
Avery Grimes, chief strategy officer for Patriot Rail, said the issue of technology’s impact on workers is one that needs to be addressed. He said “I do think it’s incumbent upon labor and management to face these issues straight up. That sounds soft and fuzzy, but I think that’s where it starts.”
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