Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

SMART RAIL — Result In Brief

Project ID: 285683
Funded under: FP7-TRANSPORT
Country: Ireland

Innovative solutions for maintaining Europe's rail infrastructure

Europe's rail sector needs to overcome limitations in ageing infrastructure. An EU initiative developed a new automatic sensor system to replace visual inspections of such infrastructure in order to optimise monitoring and prioritisation of repairs.
Innovative solutions for maintaining Europe's rail infrastructure
Much of Europe's rail system dates from the 19th and early 20th centuries and is degraded. The vital continual assessment and maintenance must be cost effective and efficiently prioritised. This was the task of the EU-funded project SMART RAIL (Smart maintenance and analysis of transport infrastructure).

Initially, the project conducted in situ assessments of specific rail infrastructure around Europe. Assessments included the current conditions of the infrastructure, plus estimates of likely damage given different usage or weather conditions.

Novel techniques to obtain real-time data on the performance of rail infrastructure such as bridges, tracks and slopes were developed and tested on railway infrastructure across the EU. These include sensors to monitor the corrosion rate of steel and concrete bridges, geophysical techniques to assess the condition of open track and embankments, accelerometers to measure the development of bridge scour and an early warning system for landslides.

A life-cycle tool was developed to demonstrate the environmental and economic cost benefits concerning the tested techniques. Demonstrations were carried out on railway networks in Ireland, Croatia, Poland and Slovenia.

Guidelines for the implementation of practical solutions to meet user needs and to facilitate widespread exploitation of outcomes were made available on the project website. Dedicated workshops and conference sessions were organised and scientific papers published.

Thanks to SMART RAIL, infrastructure operators and managers have at their disposal innovative methods and cost-effective measures to ensure the future safety and quality of Europe's infrastructure.

Related information

Subjects

Transport

Keywords

Rail infrastructure, automatic sensor system, repairs, smart maintenance, transport infrastructure
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