Rail transport needs to be efficient, effective and functional to enhance the quality of this mode of transport. This quality will lead to a travellers' mode choice that is more and more in favour to trains than to cars. Prorail is a rail infrastructure manager that supports this vision. It propagates accessibility, reliability and safety that are as great as possible, but costs as little as possible.
To make this vision possible, Prorail consults with transporters on matters of available capacity, works on maintenance, improvement, enlargement and innovation of the rail network and stations. It strives to work as a partner within the rail network on solutions of future mobility issues. Prorail also pursuits a smooth execution of the operational process and a swift solution in case something fails.
Prorail is the Dutch rail infrastructure manager and consists of three divisions that have only been united since July 2002. These are: Railinfrabeheer (new and existing infrastructure, operational management), Railned (capacity planner) and Railverkeersleiding (rail-traffic controller).
Railinfrabeheer has a research department that focuses on new infrastructure, innovation (concerning infrastructure and stations), safety and environment. They interact with transporters (NS Reizigers, Railion Cargo), governmental parties (Ministry of Transport) and universities.
Prorail is funded by the national government.
Projects that are covered by Prorail vary between mere constructing new infrastructure and stimulating innovation. Some examples of the latter are:
- Beter Benutten 21: better utilisation of infrastructure by means of development of a new safety system (it is possible for trains to drive more frequently), a wireless communication system (for information exchange between train and traffic control), a new energy supply system (25 kV) and a new control system (for example to operate switches and signs).
- Light rail: a new transport concept that serves on an urban and regional level. Not only is the new train physically different from for example local trains ('stoptreinen'), but also with respect to the focus. Examples of the former are the capability of the trains to accelerate and brake faster, and a higher level of comfort. Examples of the focus is to create a high quality means of transport with high levels of comfort, frequency and a positive radiation towards the public space.
- Environmental impact of rail: research projects to decrease the negative impacts on the environment (for example sound, nature and energy).
- Door-to-door movements: for example by creating more parking space by using rail yards and the project 'OV-fiets' (bicycle for public transport passengers).
- Research projects on the quality of transfer possibilities on railway stations.