Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


DESTinationRAIL Report Summary

Project ID: 636285
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DESTinationRAIL (Decision Support Tool for Rail Infrastructure Managers)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Problem: 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 affecting all of Europe, See Figure 1. In order to deal effectively with this grand challenge, Europe will need to develop methods to manage its rail infrastructure across the single European railway area. Whilst decision support tools are widely applied across a range of domains they tend to concentrate on only one asset and inherently suffer from the following limitations, which will be addressed in the Destination Rail Project:

1. The data used to perform the risk assessment is mostly inadequate. An over-reliance on visual assessment and guestimates for condition monitoring are the norm rather than the exception.
2. They do not consider the effects of traffic flow.
3. They suffer from a lack of a system wide database of asset condition and performance.
4. They do not account for whole life cycle assessment in a probabilistic manner.

The DESTination RAIL will develop a multi-asset Decision Support Tool that addresses all of these deficits in conjunction with SME’s and IM’s.

Why is it important: The European Rail Agency (2013) reported that the total number of passenger fatalities on the European rail network was 196, making railway the safest mode of travel. Data on the number of fatalities per person kilometre traveled shows that the safety performance of the rail and air were equal and by far the safest sectors, with the road sector having a fatal accident rate twenty times higher. However, a significant number of non-passenger fatalities occur each year where the general public interacts with rail infrastructure, with 1284 people being killed at level crossings during the same time period. Despite the very encouraging safety record, a number of high profile failures of rail infrastructure have occurred in recent years, with the incidence appearing to increase in response to climate challenges and aging networks, among other factors.

What are the overall objectives: 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 2. 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.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The summary of the work performed to date:

Find - Geophysical techniques have been applied at demonstration sites in Croatia and Norway to Rail network to locate weak points on the rail track.
burrows, weak spots and voids and focussed additional testing is ongoing. GDG applied statistical techniques to historical data on landslides in Ireland to predict the location of the most vulnerable slopes on the rail network. Using field tests NGI have developed an approach for assessing the speed at which high-spreed trains cause damage in sift ground areas. UZ used drones to investigate rock and slope stability in Croatia. A landmark rail bridge in Ireland was instrumented by UT to measure its dynamic response.

Analyse - New multi-modal techniques have been developed to allow the safety of slopes to a range of hazards to be assessed. Monitoring of the Boyne Bridge and subsequent filtering of the measured data to remove dynamic portions of stress signals, allowing quantification of the Assessment Dynamic Ratio was applied for the first-time to a real railway bridge. A 3-dimensional Finite Element model of the Boyne Viaduct was developed for dynamic simulation. Probabilistic fatigue analysis based on measured data was performed for the Boyne Viaduct.

Classify - Following an extensive review of literature, the development of a draft Information Management System by UT and face to face discussions with infrastructure managers a schema-less document based database format was chosen as the information management system for the project. A high-level risk assessment frame. The development of the web based, decision support tool is well advanced. The graphical user interface has been established. This allows GIS based visualisation and selection of railway objects. Multi-criteria and multi-objective decision analysis can be undertaken at levels varying from an object to a network level.

Treat - Laboratory testing of innovative light-weight fill materials has been performed by ZAG and NGI to develop constitutive models for these materials. A fully-instrumented Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) system has been demonstrated in Slovenia. In the same area high-pressure grouting using novel polyurethane resins has been undertaken to strengthen marginal soils. A traffic flow model has been developed by OTRT for the Malahide to Dundalk line on which the Boyne Viaduct is located.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

There has been significant progress beyond the state of the art in the first 18 months of the DESTination Rail project, across the various Work Packages. Some examples are summarised below along with expected progress over the next period and the expected impacts.

Find - 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.
Analyse - Methods used to update the statistical distributions used in Infrastructure assessment have been extended to the application of multi-modal probabilistic distributions to reliability assessment and particle-swarm-based techniques while considering monitoring data for slope stability analysis. The filtered monitoring data from the Boyne Viaduct suggest that dynamic effects are less than 5% of the values suggested in current design codes.
Classify - The framework for the multi-asset decision support tool has been created and is being demonstrated on a central portion of the Irish Rail network in Central Dublin.
Treat - 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.

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