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Decision Support Tool for Rail Infrastructure Managers

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DESTinationRAIL (Decision Support Tool for Rail Infrastructure Managers)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

European rail infrastructure managers (IMs) are managing ageing rail infrastructure with 95% of the network having been built before 1914. EU transport policy provides the challenge to IMs to increase the productivity of existing rail networks at a time when budgets are restricted and challenges from natural hazards and extreme weather events are increasingly affecting Europe. The DESTination RAIL project has developed a multi-asset Decision Support Tool in conjunction with infrastructure managers. Novel techniques for identifying, analysing and remediating critical rail infrastructure have been developed. These solutions have been implemented using a decision support tool, which allows rail infrastructure managers to make rational investment choices, based on reliable data. The objective of this project (safer, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure) has been achieved through a holistic management tool based on the FACT (Find, Analyse, Classify, Treat) principle:

• Find – Improved techniques for the assessment of existing assets have been developed.
• Analyse – Advanced probabilistic models fed by performance statistics and using databases controlled by an information management system have been used to determine the level of safety of individual assets.
• Classify – The performance models allow a step-change in risk assessment, moving from the current subjective (qualitative) basis to become fundamentally based on quantifiable data.
• Treat – Novel and innovative maintenance and construction techniques for treating rail infrastructure including tracks, earthworks and structures have been developed.

Conclusions of the action:

The DESTination RAIL project held its final conference at the University of Zagreb on 26/27 April. The project outputs that were commended by infrastructure managers include novel uses of drones for railway infrastructure assessment, a novel landslide risk model, an online Decision Support Tool, a whole lifecycle cost assessment model at rail network level and novel contruction & maintenance techniques that provide clear benefits to infrastructure owners & operators.
Overview of the results:

• A methodology was developed for continuous and real-time inspections of critical track infrastructure, including switches and crossings, using sensor technologies.
• Novel remote monitoring techniques were developed and tested to assess slope stability along railway networks, including the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones.
• A monitoring system was implemented at the Boyne Viaduct in Drogheda, Ireland, which comprised four rosette strain gauges, three triaxial accelerometers and a weather station.
• A framework for the Decision Support Tool (DST) has been developed.
• Laboratory triaxial testing and finite element analyses has been conducted for selected demonstration sites.
• The network whole lifecycle cost model has been demonstrated and tested.
• New algorithms have been developed to calculate that indirect costs associated with asset maintenance.
• The cost of transport delays and carbon emissions has been developed for the case study network.
• Whole lifecycle cost profiles have been developed for infrastructure assets along the case study network.

Exploitation activities involved the organisation of six exploitation committee meetings which have discussed:
• the identification of possible IPR opportunities.
• the discussion of companies which have expressed an interested in the project and to which information has been sent.

Significant dissemination activities were undertaken as part of this project. This involved numerous presentations at conferences, industry events, as well as scientific and technical publications (approximately 70 dissemination items in total). Presentations were given at 7 conferences during period 2 of the project, including Stockholm, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Prague, Brno, Arad and Alba Lulia. The conferences included representatives from all the target groups defined in the dissemination strategy, i.e. infrastructure managers, suppliers, SMEs, academics, engineers, politicians, journalists, funders and policy decision makers.
There has been significant progress beyond the state-of-the-art during Period 2 of the DESTination RAIL project. Some examples are summarised below along with project outputs:

- The use of drones to analyses rock and soil slopes has proven to be much more effective in terms of data collections, cheaper and safer than traditional inspection methods.
- The development of a methodology for continuous and real-time inspections of critical track infrastructure, including switches and crossings, using sensor technologies.
- The development of a model-based probabilistic fatigue algorithm to assess bridges.
- A novel modal-based approach for damage detection in bridges has been introduced with consideration of the monitoring data.
- Advanced soil-structure interaction techniques have been developed and tested with site-specific CPT data.
- A set of fragility curves was developed to determine the probability of slope failure as a function of prescribed intensity measures for a case study on the Irish Rail network.
- An FEM-MBS co-simulation model was developed to better understand vehicle and track interaction and track assessment based on vehicle reaction.
- A proof-of-concept of the DST has been conducted by performing a risk assessment for a portion of the Irish rail network. The DST may be used to identify, visualise, and analyse a portion of the Irish rail network that comprises a complex portion of the network in an urban area. The DST has been implemented in such a way so as to enable users to perform an analysis for any rail network, whereby the required data inputs are provided.
- A number of novel materials and remediation techniques have been demonstrated on live railway lines aimed at reducing disruption, increasing safety and minimising the effect on the environment.
- A novel rail traffic flow model has been tested and demonstrated at network scale for a selected case study.
- New algorithms have been developed to calculate that indirect costs associated with asset maintenance.

Socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project:

The DESTination RAIL project supports proactive maintenance where it is needed most along railway networks through the provision of a DST to support decision making for rail infrastructure owners and managers, contributing towards the cost effectiveness and the reliability of rail transportation. Furthermore, the project supports better mobility, as well as increased safety and security for rail users through the provision of more reliable rail operations that results in a reduction in the risk to life, as well as reduced financial and environmental costs in relation to rail infrastructure. Overall, the project supports growth and competiveness in the rail sector.