From the outset, Adif has always pursued innovation and technological development, which are seen as the ideal way of promoting knowledge and technological development in the scientific-technical community, and also of boosting the growth of the Spanish economy, by nurturing innovation and research in the railway sector.
The reference framework chosen by Adif to direct its R&D&I activity is based on guidelines defined in the regulations and recommendations published by Spanish and European institutions:
- Spanish Strategy for Sustainable Mobility (EEMS); Infrastructure, Transport and Housing Plan (PITVI); Spanish Science, Technology & Innovation Strategy; and National Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation of the Spanish Government
- EU Horizon 2020 Programme and 2011 White Paper on Transport
- Rail Route 2050 by the ERRAC (European Rail Research Advisory Council)
The following R&D&I research activity document in Adif /Programme 2013-2014 includes an overview of Adif's current and medium-term R&D&I activity. It includes a description of the resources it uses and the procedures it follows.
As of May 2013 Adif has carried out 48 projects successfully, out of which 25 have been transferred to the market. Another 42 are being executed and 7 are being prepared.
Adif is a driving force that encourages and promotes innovation in Spanish business. This position as a leader involves partnership with many public and private organisations, including more than 125 Spanish companies, 22 technology centres and 24 universities. In financial terms, Adif's global investment in R&D&I is 107 million euros. The following proportion reflects the success of this formula: for every euro that Adif invests, the science sector invests 3 and the business sector invests 10.7.
The main goals of Adif’s R&D&I activities include:
- Modernisation and management of assets
- Reinforcement of Spain’s position of leadership in world railway technology
- Increased efficiency and productivity in technological processes.
- Implementation and transfer of newly developed technology, coordinating its putting into service
- Protection of research results through incorporation into Adif’s portfolio of intangible assets
- Financing for R&D&I through involvement in national and European public procurement competitions
- Dialogue with institutions and companies to promote research projects
- The benefits of investments in R&D&I
- Generation of revenue through intangible assets
- Benefits obtained from technology transfer agreements
- Management, auditing and certification of Adif’s R&D&I management system
- Technology Watch and dissemination of Adif's R&D&I activity
- Documentation and standards management
Malaga Rail Technology Centre, a world leader in technology innovation
Adif’s efforts in the area of R&D&I have culminated in the creation of the Rail Technology Centre (CTF), together with associated facilities for testing and experimentation at the future Bobadilla Rail Loop Line in Malaga.
The CTF, located in the Andalusia Technology Park in Malaga, is the focal point of Adif’s innovation effort and activity. This modern centre directs, plans and implements strategies and actions in the area of Adif’s research, development and innovation.
Adif has created the CTF with the intention of positioning the Spanish railway system at the forefront of European and world technology. This technology centre, and the complementary Rail Loop Line to be constructed for testing, will be at the forefront of world high-speed research, development and innovation.
The CTF has laboratories specialising in cutting-edge technologies, where it is possible to experiment with and develop new systems and explore the improvement of current ones:
- Information and Communication Technology Laboratory (LABTIC)
- GSM-R / ERTMS Laboratory
- Station Laboratory
- Laboratory for Tests with Overhead Line Elements
- Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory
It also has specialised training, technology watch, R&D&I project management and technology transfer departments to develop Adif’s own national and international projects, in cooperation or under contract from third parties. In addition, it has technical areas, classrooms, a demo room and laboratories.
Adif’s R&D&I projects follow three strategic lines:
- OPERATIONS: Optimisation and improvement of train traffic and infrastructure maintenance
- SUSTAINABILITY: Energy efficiency, the environment and new infrastructure construction techniques (mainly track beds)
- FREIGHT: Increase in freight traffic on the network managed by Adif
Adif’s technology products include the Da Vinci system, developed by Indra and the intellectual property of Adif, which has become the world’s leading platform for railway traffic management. Da Vinci manages the Spanish high-speed network, as well as other kinds of networks such as the metros in the cities of Medellín and London (Metronet). It is also the solution chosen by Morocco and Lithuania to manage their respective rail networks.
Adif has also played an important role in the field of railway interoperability, with development of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) on Spanish high-speed lines. At present, Spain’s 1,974 km make it a world leader in ERTMS implementation, placing it at the forefront of technology in this field.