System innovation in the transition toward a higher voltage in the overhead wires of the Dutch railway system : an assessment methodology for possible transitions

Bos, M.W. (2011) System innovation in the transition toward a higher voltage in the overhead wires of the Dutch railway system : an assessment methodology for possible transitions.

Abstract:This research involves the system innovation involved in the transition toward a higher voltage in the overhead wires of the Dutch railway system. The involved considered voltage is 3kV DC. A migration to this voltage would provide an increased capacity, less loss of energy and more possibilities for the recuperation of the energy involved with braking. The reason why a migration to 3kV DC is considered is that a system operating under 3kV DC could make use of most of the core concepts and linkages as exist in the current system which is operating under 1,5kV DC. This system has indirect as well as directly involved stakeholders. However, most important seem the directly relevant stakeholders. The focus is therefore on the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, ProRail and the NS (which are identified as the directly relevant stakeholders). In order to research this possible transition and involved system innovation a framework is constructed. This framework is mainly based on the Multi‐Level framework, Technological Innovation System and the Hypercube of Innovation. The actors, which are involved in this framework, have a certain role by which they define one or more dimensions. Based on that role they might have the possibility to fulfil functions as described by the Technological Innovation System and thereby contribute to the generation, diffusion and utilization of an innovation. The likeliness of an actor to fulfil such functions depends on how radical the actor perceives the innovation and the valueproposition. The system where these actors are part of is under pressure or supported by factors these actors cannot, or at most in the long term, influence. These factors can affect the likeliness of an actor supporting a possible innovation. Furthermore, the (desired) future developments involving these actors might affect the actors perception, since these developments might hold a (high) future value. The constructed framework therefore holds an assessment methodology for possible transitions and involved system innovations. Within the current established system the most likely trajectory, in the transition involving the migration to 3kV DC, is the trajectory involved with no transition at all. This since the current (macro)economics put high restrictive pressure on the system and thereby prevent a breakthrough of 3kV DC from occurring. Furthermore, the knowledge development and diffusion seem not to have occurred very well. The developed knowledge is not unanimously accepted by all the actors. This is partly due to lack of knowledge diffusion, but also differs the content of the developed knowledge (this involves financial, technological, exploitation and organizational issues). Therefore it seems appropriate, in case there is a willingness to reconsider the traction‐power supply, to develop uniform, general knowledge. However, the lack of a long‐term strategy prevents a transition from occurring as well since the involved migration holds very large investments which are not supported by the current strategy. Factors to be addressed in such a long term strategy include demography, society, economy and the environment. These factors can at most only be influenced in the long term and largely influence important indicators as for example traffic volumes, sustainability and energy‐efficiency. In case a strategy is generated which addresses the mentioned factors, a migration might be possible. The most likely trajectory in that case is unknown, since both involve advantages and disadvantages which are not quantitatively measurable at this moment in time.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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