Articles

Competing technology options and stakeholder interests for tracking freight railcars in Indian Railways

S. C. SRIVASTAVA, S. S. MATHUR, T. S. H. TEO

Journal of Information Technology

December 2009, vol. 24, n°4, pp.392-400

Departments: Information Systems and Operations Management, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: RFID, GPS, Technology choice, Options, Railroad, India


This teaching case examines the implementation of a new technology for tracking individual freight railcars (wagons) by Indian Railways. After exploring multiple ‘technological options,’ the Indian Railways decided to undertake a pilot project based on time-tested Automatic Equipment Identification system using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. However, a number of other technological options are now available, which include EPC Gen2-based RFID systems, Global Positioning System solutions, Optical Character Recognition (OCR)-based systems, and manual hand-held data collection devices integrated with the current Freight Operations System. Each of these systems has its own advantages and limitations. Although Indian Railways officials are going ahead with the pilot project, they are uncertain as to the appropriate technological choice, given the wide range of available technology options. Further, they are faced with competing interests from different stakeholder groups (departments), who favor different technologies.


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