What is the current status of the European rail system? How have legislative and institutional factors been updated in response to the increasing competition of automobile use? What topics need to be studied? What sort of promotional campaigns and programs has the Austrian rail system undertaken in reaction to the demands of the legal changes in Europe? And who is carrying them out? On one hand, the present volume offers the reader a concise overview of the status quo of the European rail system and current trends: the development of rail transport in comparison to other forms of transportation; the contribution of trains to sustainable development; the newest legislative, institutional and strategic parameters of the European rail system. The volume also deals specifically with the Austrian rail system: What economic influence" does Austrian rail transport have in the sense of supply and demand; which fields of research in rail transport, supported nationally and at the European level, are carried out by national institutions; where and in which areas is specifically national and international rail technological know-how to be found? The conclusion of this study examines the advisability of founding a "Knowledge and Technology Center for Rail Research in Austria, as was done in the framework of a preparatory study commissioned by the Rail Technology Cluster Austria (RTCA) between 2005 and 2006. In addition, the thematic survey of requirements, conducted within the framework of this project, is summarized, and the potential research areas and functions such an institution would fulfil are discussed.