Periodic Reporting for period 3 - PLASA (Smart Planning and Safety for a safer and more robust European railway sector)
Berichtszeitraum: 2018-01-01 bis 2018-08-31
In Europe, different and often not perfectly suitable planning tools are in use today to simulate railway operations. This leads to results which may not be comparable. Even more important we have a data landscape that has no proper and open data interfaces between different countries implemented. Thus, the simulation of cross-border connections will be more difficult. In addition to the heterogeneous data landscape, no tool has yet been implemented that is able to simulate with a high degree of detail on the one hand, and that can also be used for large networks. In that trade-off, either a wide network or a high degree of detail is dominant. In short, a lack of research in railway simulation can be identified and needs to be overcome. Furthermore, this project will encompass additional research and innovation activities, which will foster significant improvements in long term railway traffic planning. These coherent improvements will enhance performance and resilience whilst lowering costs in future railway activities.
Railways have a high aspiration level on safety, but other modes of transport are using different methods, for instance the aerospace sector, looking at structured risk assessments. Although railway transportation has a long history in safety management, and it is certainly currently one of the safest transport mode, improvements in looking at different approaches in operation are under investigation in this project. In particular, risk management is often not based on a complete risk assessment and thus due to the complexity of railways, decisions made by individuals may have consequences one can only hardly foreseen. The PLASA's Safety sub-project has delivered a methodology to improve the design making process for safety management based on risk assessment and to ensure that all parameters are taking into account. The results so far are promising and will be continued in a project within SNCF.
• In Europe, different planning tools are used to simulate railway operations. This leads to non-harmonised results with a data landscape lacking proper data interfaces between countries. There is also no implemented tool that can simulate with a high degree of detail or be used for large networks. PLASA set out to address this by gathering knowledge on smart planning approaches, activities, and existing analyses on disturbances and interdependencies in the European railway networks.
• Through their work, PLASA developed a macroscopic approach to reduce execution time by restricting the level of detail to high-level relations between significant events. The tested approach seems to allow for accurate results on delays. There is room for improvements in accuracy, but the new approach appears promising and will be assessed further in another Shift2Rail project, PLASA 2.
• For scientific target groups the Smart Planning project team wrote a paper and presented it at the TRA which took place in April 2018 in Vienna. Also an abstract has been submitted for WCRR 2019 and the approval is expected in February 2019.
• Defining a possible improved management process on the safety of the railway system using a risk assessment was a PLASA priority. Project work also looked at the functionalities of the system and human behaviour to better represent real-life scenarios.
• PLASA developed a decision model that was applied to three use cases. The results were promising and demonstrated the relevance and added value of the approach. They also showed how it can be applied to a wide range of railway applications.
• The French national railways will also continue the safety work of PLASA. A decision-support tool implementing the model developed within the project will be designed for one of the use cases and the quantification of human reliability will be further investigated.
The output of the Smart Planning sub-project is expected to improve the quality of planning activities for railway undertakings and infrastructure managers. This will lead to a more robust and reliable railway system. In particular, it will improve the punctuality of trains, minimize operational disturbances, and render the system better able to respond quickly to disturbances. It will also improve the measurability for future planning decisions by enabling an estimation of the effects of planning actions. This reduces the dependency of gut reactions in decision making, especially in larger projects where state of the art simulation concepts cannot be applied. With the Smart Planning simulation model it is possible to simulate a complete day of operation on the entire German network, with around 40,000 trains, under a minute of computation time. Compared to other simulation models this is by far outstanding.
The expected impact of PLASA's Safety sub-project is to improve the design making process to manage the safety of the railway system at a global level. This integrated approach shall support managers to make critical safety decisions in day-to-day operations and in the design phase. Usage of a decision support model based on risk assessment methods is a new approach for the railway sector. This improved safety management will preserve and enhance the safety level of the railway systems which is a key value in transportation. It will then help to promote the modal shift for railway transportation.