On February 1st, 2024, ODYSSEUS project was presented by the UIC Security Division in the pivotal 10th Working Party on Rail Security (RAILSEC) meeting at the European Commission Directorate-General Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) headquarters in Brussels. This assembly serves as the nexus for advising the Commission on matters crucial to the security of rail passengers within the European Union, encompassing both station facilities and onboard train environments. Additionally, it fosters vital coordination and collaboration among Member States in fortifying rail security measures.

Stepping into the limelight of this significant gathering, DG MOVE extended a gracious invitation to UIC to spotlight the groundbreaking ODYSSEUS project. The project’s overarching goals and profound significance for the rail sector and the fortification of Europe’s railway borderlands was outlined.Additionally, it was strongly emphasised that ODYSSEUS endeavours to revolutionize the border-crossing experience for both travellers and border control authorities, elevating security measures while simultaneously streamlining the process across EU external land and sea borders.

The project has meticulously gathered and distilled the diverse needs and requirements of the railway sector concerning border security. This groundwork has culminated in the meticulous definition of rail-specific use cases, laying the foundation for a seamless integration of innovative solutions. As the vanguard of this transformative initiative, UIC will lead the charge in conducting pilot tests at the train borders, with a keen focus on facilitating frictionless passenger identity verification. The eagerly anticipated rail pilot is slated to commence in the first quarter of 2025, with preparatory efforts set to kick off this summer, marking a crucial milestone in the project’s timeline.

In a spirit of inclusivity and collaboration, stakeholders present at the meeting were cordially invited to join the User Community, an inclusive platform open to new end-users, industrial partners, and research organisations actively engaged in border management endeavours. This open invitation underscores the ODYSSEUS project’s ethos of collective engagement and underscores its commitment to fostering a robust ecosystem of stakeholders dedicated to advancing the frontier of rail security and travel facilitation within the European Union.

The presentation of the ODYSSEUS project marks a significant step forward in revolutionizing border management within the European Union. Together, we embark on a journey towards a safer, more efficient, and interconnected rail landscape for generations to come, while simultaneously reinforcing security and streamlining processes across both land and sea borders, thus ensuring a comprehensive approach to border control within the European Union and beyond.

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