Siemens: Reinventing America's Transportation System

Reinventing America’s Transportation System

By: Marc Buncher, President and CEO, Siemens Mobility North America

The bipartisan infrastructure law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revolutionize mass transit and transform American rail as we know it. It’s an exciting time for the industry and you can feel the energy from all stakeholders. Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg who joined industry leaders in Charlotte, NC to showcase the benefits of the law and visit some of the latest streetcars in America.

Replacing old rail fleets with cleaner, more sustainable rail vehicles is at the top of the transit industry’s to-do list. The Charlotte S700 Streetcar features an innovative battery storage that allows the vehicle to run both on- and off-wire. When running off-catenary, the vehicle is powered entirely by a battery hidden in the base of the vehicle. The Charlotte Streetcar, which is built at our 60-acre rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento, is paving the way for sustainable rail vehicles in the U.S. and the next generation of rail.

With a large sum of the bill allotted for passenger and freight rail, our tried-and-true solutions are ready to be put to work. Manufactured and engineered in Pittsburgh, our intelligent, future oriented communications-based train control (CBTC) technology keeps cities on the move and on time. With 100% punctuality, rail operators are able to meet customer demands and passengers benefit from reliable transit every time. Built with excellence and pride in Louisville, our signals and signal upgrades are flexible, reliable and virtually maintenance-free. Our products are proven and ready for what’s next in rail.

But there is still so much more that needs to be done.  High speed rail and the digitalization of rail are on the forefront of technology but not on the forefront of everyone’s mind. High-speed rail has the ability to transform towns into cities and connect communities in an unprecedented way. Already proven in Europe, high speed rail replaces short-haul flights and allows passengers to spend less time traveling and more time at their destination. Similarly, the digitalization of rail infrastructure will leverage and upgrade technology while future-proofing operational performance. Everyone is talking about the digitalization of rail, but now is the time to act and apply the technology. Without the implementation of these two technologies, our rail revolution won’t be complete.

The bipartisan infrastructure law is a win for the rail industry and our country. And as Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton has said, now it’s time to get to work. This is the momentum we need to transform rail and get America moving again. Siemens Mobility has the solutions and now our country has the funds to implement them. Together, we can build a rail network that will move Americans for generations to come.

Published: December 2, 2021