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DESTination RAIL: Decision Support Tool for Rail Infrastructure Managers

Researcher: Zaharah Allah Bukhsh, UT
Project Duration: May 2015 –  May 2018
Project Partners: GDG Ireland, IrishRail Ireland, TRL UK, UZ Croatia, Croatian railways Croatia, TUM Germany, ZAG Slovenia, NGI Norway, NTNU Norway, UT Netherlands, OTRT Austria, ROD Ireland, ETH Switzerland, Slovenian Railways SZ

Project Description:

The aim of DESTination RAIL is to provide solutions for a number of problems faced by EU infrastructure managers. Novel techniques for identifying, analysing and remediating critical rail infrastructure will be developed. These solutions will be implemented using a decision support tool, which allows rail infrastructure managers to make rational investment choices, based on reliable data, See Figure below. At present Infrastructure Managers make safety critical investment decisions based on poor data and an overreliance on visual assessment. As a consequence their estimates of risk are therefore highly questionable and large-scale failures are happening with increasingly regularity. As the European Rail Infrastructure network ages, investment becomes more challenging. As a result reliability and safety are reduced, users perception of these is negative and the policy move to increased use of rail transport is unsuccessful. The objective of this project (safer, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure) will be achieved through a holistic management tool based on the FACT (Find, Analyse, Classify, Treat) principle.

Find – Improved techniques for the assessment of existing assets will be developed. 

Analyse – Advanced probabilistic models fed by performance statistics and using databases controlled by an information management system will be used to determine the level of safety of individual assets.

Classify – The performance models will allow a step-change in risk assessment, moving from the current subjective (qualitative) basis to become fundamentally based on quantifiable data. A decision support tool will take risk ratings and assess the impact on the traffic flow and whole life cycle costs of the network.

Treat –Novel and innovative maintenance and construction techniques for treating rail infrastructure including tracks, earthworks and structures will be developed and assessed by whole life cycle assessment and impact on the traffic flow.