Skip to main content

Communication Systems for Next-generation Railways

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MISTRAL (Communication Systems for Next-generation Railways)

Período documentado: 2017-11-01 hasta 2018-10-31

MISTRAL defines a Techno-Economic Proposition, validated by communication and rail stakeholders, indicating the strategy to migrate from the current GSM-R to a more modern, non-exclusive IP-based wireless train-to-wayside communication technology. Future scenarios are identified, shifting from the current Network as an Asset (NaaA) to a future Network as a Service (NaaS) model, where the communication infrastructure owned and operated by a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) provides Innovative Services to rail operators and passengers, with the potential for new markets and actors.

The Techno-Economic Proposition is validated using the MISTRAL “Techno-Economic Evaluation Framework” (Fig.1): a DSS that, starting from a set of hypothesis in terms of Scenario envisioned, Innovative Services deployed and Type of Routes considered (e.g. urban, rural), uses the MISTRAL Virtual Route Model (VRM) to compute the Total-Cost-of-Ownership (TCO), both from the Infrastructure Managers (IM) and the MNO perspectives. The VRM embeds real technical and economic data.

Major conclusions of the MISTRAL techno-economic evaluation are:
• Innovative services provide benefits across all scenarios. Even though they do not drive the change from NaaA to Naas they drive the transition from GSM-R to IP-based technologies supporting higher QoS
• NaaS is the preferred scenario in terms of TCO for most routes.
• NaaS shows the best absolute TCO for routes with low commercial networks coverage and high GSM-R coverage (e.g. urban-rural, urban-mountain) because revamping GSM-R sites is more viable for MNOs. In such scenarios, the VRM calculates possible subsidies or incentives from IM (or Government) to MNO to mitigate a lower ROI - due to lower passengers density
• NaaS is convenient for MNO without incentives in high-density (e.g. urban-urban) routes, even with higher TCO because of the likely higher ROI generated by more passengers benefiting from Innovative Services
• NaaS may be not convenient due to legacy reasons (e.g. IM reluctant to change model), no deregulation (i.e. high entry barrier), no specific SLA management, no frequency agreement.

The major benefits of NaaS for the overall economy are:
• Higher QoS for passengers
• Higher ROI for Railway Undertakings
• New markets for new actors
• Rural areas will likely have higher communication network coverage
• Faster technology update
• Higher economic efficiency both for IM and MNO.
MISTRAL analysed the techno-economic viability of the transition from NaaA to NaaS under different scenarios through the following steps
• Scenario Building & Innovative Services
The AS-IS rail communication system in Europe was reviewed. A portfolio of future TO-BE scenarios was built considering driving forces and barriers concerning economics, technology, stakeholders, policies, regulations, standards, safety, dependability. Three candidate scenarios (two NaaA and one NaaS) based on IP technologies were selected for final business analysis. MISTRAL also identified Innovative Services enabled by such IP technologies and classified them in terms of priority, typology, service providers and final users.
• Market Trends and Value Ecosystem design
The 1st step was a market analysis of the rail sector and of the European network communication system identifying available services and key actors (i.e. communication systems suppliers, rail enterprises, telco operators). As 2nd step, market driving forces enabling the migration from NaaA to NaaS and their effects were analysed. External stakeholders needs and opinions about the possibilities offered by NaaS were collected, also using questionnaires. Economic data needed as input for the Techno-economic proposition were obtained and a methodology for building business models was defined.
• Technological and General Performance Conditions trends
Performance requirements of current and future communication technologies for railways were analysed, with a focus on key parameters of data transmission, such as network architecture, data capacity, bandwidth and QoS. Possible future wireless communication technology candidates were examined. Requirements and implementation conditions were defined, including a survey of QoS mechanisms and new implementation concepts. An overview of ongoing normative discussions on future frequency spectrum resources use was also done.
• Techno-economic Proposition Viability Analysis
MISTRAL finally defined a Techno-Economic Evaluation Framework, which comprises a method to evaluate economic viability of services for passengers and for operators using wireless communications infrastructures deployed in railway scenarios under different conditions of communication networks ownership and management. The Techno-economic proposition was subject to a Business Viability Analysis to gauge and optimize the TCO of the new communication system and to a Technical Viability Analysis to investigate compliance with new requirements, including Security and QoS. The final result of MISTRAL is a “Validated Techno-Economic Proposition” with optimized life-cycle cost and a portfolio of Innovative Services.

Dissemination & Communication Overview
Tools and actions done are herein listed:
• Website, LinkedIn, Twitter
• Brochure
• TRA 2018 poster and presentation
• Attendance at external events: 9th Railway Innovation Congress in Cadiz, TRA 2018, Expo Ferroviaria, ETSI workshop on future radio for rail in Sophie Antipolis, Innotrans 2018
• Journal articles: TRA 2018 article on Zenodo, MISTRAL article on ‘Research*eu Results Magazine’ N°72/May 2018 and CORDIS
• Two physical workshops with the External Stakeholder Committee were held during the project. A 3rd on-line workshop was held in December 2018 after the project end to share results, and get inputs and feedback. Attendees were representatives of the complementary project X2Rail-1, 3GPP, an MNO and a metro operator.
• Future dissemination activities are planned to use own Partners resources (e.g. websites) to publish and spread MISTRAL results after the project conclusion.

Exploitation
TUD exploited MISTRAL results integrating them in research and lectures. The other Partners plan to exploit the foreground knowledge in the techno-economic evaluation of rail services by offering consultancy to major European rail and communications stakeholders. Moreover, Partners will exploit the developed methodologies by seeking new EU-funded projects.
MISTRAL advanced the SoA delivering a framework and methodology to carry out techno-economic evaluations of the transition from GSM-R to more performing IP-based wireless communication technologies enabling innovative services for railway operators and passengers. This includes
• A DSS for policy advisory comprising a spreadsheet for simulation analysis and real case evaluation with real data
• A qualitative analysis of future scenarios (e.g. Innovative Services value proposition, cost-benefit analysis) and of the conditions to use public networks – instead of dedicated networks – also to provide Mission Critical Services.
The relation between MISTRAL and the impacts expected by the Topic S2R-OC-IP2-03-2015 is in Table 1.