The purpose of the conference was to agree the requirements and further development of the project. The potential of integrating Galileo satellite navigation technology with ERTMS to reduce the cost of installation on regional and secondary routes is being explored in a trial between Cagliari and San Gavino, Sicily, since February 2015. The first phase of the trial is said to be providing 'excellent results' and is due to conclude in 2017.
Ersat promises to reduce the installation and maintenance costs of ERTMS by using a satellite link to create 'virtual balises' every 50m to allow signallers to track the position of trains. Some lineside infrastructure is still needed, but under Ersat base stations would be needed every 7km rather than balises every 1.3km or less under conventional ERTMS.
RFI believes Ersat could be installed on almost 45% of Italy's secondary routes as well as parts of the main line network, replacing legacy signalling and train control systems at significantly lower cost than a conventional ERTMS installation. Bocconi University, Milan, will conduct an in-depth analysis of the economic sustainability of Ersat for the European Union. If the findings are successful the technology could be developed further.