Financing and Membership Model railML.org
by Joyce Dillon (railML.org) (comments: 0)
Over 15 years ago, railML.org was started as a freelance project with the vision of streamlining the data exchange in the railway sector. This project was no small and simple task but, having a dedicated team of developers and members, it moved steadily forward. Over the years, railML® garnered attention from bigger and more renowned companies, which opened the doors to national and international cooperation and so the need for railML as an industry standard became clear.
As of 2014, UIC – the International Union of Railways – offered their support to railML.org allowing the organization to expand and be able to work together with more companies from all over Europe. It enabled railML.org to improve railML 2 and take on the task of developing RailTopoModel and railML 3. Regrettably, UIC’s backing fell away in 2017 and this has made it steadily more difficult to continue the work to the point where future development might be significantly hindered.
What can railML.org do?
After thought-out discussions and meetings between the community, coordinators and stakeholders, it was agreed to introduce a membership model to help finance the work at railML.org. This decision was made public last year in November during the 36th railML Conference in Brussels.
This is an approach that other organisations use to finance their work as well, e.g.:
- BIM: buildingSMART International ltd., London/UK (membership fees page)
- OpenStreetMap: OSM Foundation, Cambrigde/UK (membership fees page)
- AutomationML: AutomationML e.V., Magdeburg/DE (membership fees page)
- EULynx: EULynx (no further available in the Internet)
The funds acquired through this membership system will serve solely to cover the basic operation and organisation fees for the railML community. This includes but is not limited to website servers, organisational staff, travel expenses, wiki and cloud maintenance, etc. The work of the coordinators and developers will continue to be free of charge, and the professional expertise of the members, rather than the membership level, will continue to be decisive for the further development of the schemes.
What does this mean for users?
The access to the railML schemes has been and will continue to be free for all to use. All the current functions, described in our costs page, that users enjoyed in the past will remain in place at no extra cost in future.
The membership will be divided into three tiers: Associated (lowest tier; for existing memberships), Principal (middle tier) and Strategic (extended tier). Principal and Strategic will give members certain extra benefits. The range of fees is expected to be between 0 € to 44,000 €. This all depends on the size of the company and the type of membership that is chosen. As a "Strategic" or "Principal" member, the company will receive further services such as certification at no further cost and extended support. A more detailed overview of the membership fee will be released soon to the interested parties.