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Renfe Drives Sustainable Mobility With Cloud-Native Platform That Empowers Passengers and Minimizes Carbon Emissions

“AWS powers a mobile app and website that allows customers to take control of and reduce their carbon footprint, offering them the option to select the most environmentally friendly journey from among the most economical and fastest alternatives.”

Sonia Segade
Technological Transformation Manager at Renfe

Transport Transformation: Renfe Drives Digitization and Sustainability Using AWS
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Renfe, Spain’s national railway company, which is the country’s largest consumer of renewable energy,
wanted to accelerate its sustainability journey. It is going beyond running trains on renewable energy sources to help passengers choose the most sustainable way to reach their destinations.

To promote the move from hydrocarbon-dependent modes of transportation and to drive growth, the company created dōcō, an online platform. It helps travelers to book door-to-door journeys across Spain using the most environmentally friendly combination of trains, buses, taxis, and mobility solutions like electric scooters.

Renfe worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS), NTT Data and Siemens Mobility to build its cloud-native dōcō platform in less than a year, ensuring it could scale journeys across 27 cities in Spain. dōcō will help Renfe, whose unit carbon footprint is less than four grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer, toward its goals of reducing its CO2 emissions by 9.9 million tons by 2030 and remaining a pioneer in sustainability among European rail companies.

Adopting Cloud-Native Serverless Solutions for Greater Sustainability

Train transport accounts for just 0.3 percent of the 26 percent of total global emissions caused by the transport sector. Nonetheless, Renfe is already working hard on CO2 reduction across its business, which operates more than 5,000 trains a day and transports more than 500 million passengers a year. As part of emissions-cutting strategy, Renfe is moving workloads to AWS—whose infrastructure is five times more energy-efficient than the average European enterprise data center—while using the Europe (Ireland) AWS Region, where the electricity consumed in 2022 was attributable to 100 percent renewable energy.

renfe train

Renfe decided to launch dōcō on AWS, using its services to ingest, process, analyze, and store data to help passengers minimize the environmental impact of their journeys. Sonia Segade, technological transformation manager at Renfe, says, “We’ve been moving away from monolithic architectures in recent years to energy-efficient, cloud-native solutions with AWS. dōcō was a continuation of this journey, employing serverless services for greater agility and easy scaling.”

renfe bike

Building an Agile and Highly Scalable Platform Using AWS Lambda

In 2021, Segade and her team engaged with AWS Partner NTT DATA EMEAL and Siemens Mobility to deliver dōcō for launch in September of the following year. The partner maximized the sustainability of the platform by using AWS managed services to optimize resource allocation. As part of the design, NTT DATA EMEAL elected Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) to automatically start, run, and scale the platform’s Kubernetes microservices containers. It also incorporated AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven service, for all processing tasks. This included ingesting transport timetable data for the platform’s Siemens Mobility application to calculate the greenest routes possible. 

To maximize development efficiency, NTT DATA EMEAL also employed AWS CodeBuild, which compiles, runs, and tests code to streamline development, Amazon Cognito to authenticate users securely, and Amazon Connect—as it had done on previous Renfe projects—for cloud-based, omnichannel customer support.

Renfe went live with dōcō in less than 12 months with a serverless platform that reduced management time through auto scaling and decoupling the management of the APIs from the microservices. Segade says, “AWS powers a mobile app and website that allows customers to take control of their carbon footprint, offering them the option to select the most environmentally friendly journey from among the most economical and fastest alternatives.”

Empowering People to Take Control of Their Carbon Footprint

It’s early days for dōcō, but the number of customers opting for sustainable journeys is growing each month, helping Renfe and its customers to reduce their CO2 emissions. The company is also using data from the dōcō platform to learn more about customers’ environmental concerns and their ultimate destinations, and as the basis for strategic decisions.

Furthermore, the company is planning to use the insights to adopt partnerships with hotels, restaurants, and electric vehicle rental companies to extend the platform’s services. Segade concludes, She continues, “Initiatives such as dōcō on AWS bring low-carbon public transport closer to society, making it more accessible while freeing urban areas from congestion and pollution to be greener. We’re about making our operations more energy-efficient and empowering people to make more sustainable choices.”

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AWS Services Used

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) is a managed Kubernetes service to run Kubernetes in the AWS cloud and on-premises data centers.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the compute resources, making it the fastest way to turn an idea into a modern, production, serverless applications.

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AWS CodeBuild

AWS CodeBuild is a fully managed continuous integration service that compiles source code, runs tests, and produces ready-to-deploy software packages.

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Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect empowers contact center agents to deliver superior customer experiences from day one.

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