Joint Rail Conference

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

April 18 - 20, 2018


Program - Grand Challenge Competition


This year the JRC will host the 2nd Annual JRC Grand Challenge Competition open to all conference attendees. We invite registered participants to propose an idea to the below Grand Challenge Question and present that idea to a panel of industry experts using a 3-minute “shark tank pitch”. The goal of this competition is to spark new ideas, innovations, and approaches to solving a relevant issue affecting the railroad industry.

The 2018 JRC Grand Challenge question:

In recent years, railroad’s have faced increased pressure to reduce operating ratio through improved efficiency and reduction of costs. With the exception of the 2008-2009 recession, railroads saw a fairly steady growth of revenue per ton-miles (Figure 1). However, in the last 4 years, this growth has slowed and railroads are looking for new ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. How can the railroad industry utilize innovation and technology to advance their economic goals, while maintaining high levels of safety and customer service?

Figure 1. Freight Revenue per Ton Mile (in cents) for US Class I railroads from 2004-2016 in current USD and constant 2004 US dollars derived using the implicit price deflator for GDP (Sources: AAR and FRED)

Rules of the Competition:

This competition is open to all registered participants of the 2018 Joint Rail Conference. *Participants must register for the conference in order to be admitted to the competition.

Participants may enter the competition between December 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018 April 2, 2018.

During the competition, contestants will be allowed no more than three (3) minutes to present their idea using a single PowerPoint slide with no animations. Contestants may present as individuals or as a team of three people at most.

The winner of the competition will receive a prize of $500 (check to be mailed by ASME after the conclusion of the Joint Rail Conference). Competition winner will also be recognized at the conference banquet dinner on Thursday, April 19th.

After submitting an online entry form, contestants will be contacted by a member of the JRC Organizing Committee within 1-2 weeks. Entries are open to individual contestants or teams of 2 or 3 people, but only one entry is allowed per team. Apply online at: https://goo.gl/forms/TOuOroLHMjMAQEZz2.