The Railway Functional Architecture (RFA) research project was commissioned by RSSB on behalf of the Technical Strategy Advisory Group (TSAG) [since January 2011 - the Technical Strategy Leadership Group (TSLG)]. It is intended to identify, at a fairly high level of abstraction, the technology-based functions that must be performed for a modern railway to operate.
The output of this work will be a model that builds on the rail architecture framework (TRAK), which was developed for generic use within the rail industry. In early 2011 the RFA will be published on the RSSB and TSLG websites. A master copy will be retained by RSSB in an enterprise architect project (.EAP) file, which will be made available on request to selected organisations that want to manipulate or further develop the model.
TRAK was used to ensure the creation of a model that is well structured and governed by documented rules, so that it could be maintained and extended without undue effort. Architecture frameworks are commonly used in information technology and information system governance. Because, like the railway, these disciplines are so broad, and because the enterprises in which they are engaged can be large and complex, the models associated with the discipline also tend to be large and complex.
The RFA has been subject to iterative improvements as a consequence of discussions both with individual industry experts and with stakeholders in workshop sessions. We acknowledge the input of the following organisations: ATOC, Network Rail, Birmingham University Centre for Rail Research, RFG, LUL, DfT, RIA, Transport Scotland, Crossrail.
The work may help in: identifying where commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and 'plug and play' technologies may be employed; where 'open systems' architectures and 'lean' systems may be introduced; eliminating systems which duplicate functions; and shortening product development cycles, by putting a standard architecture in place. Several other uses have become apparent as the model has been developed and these will be described in more detail when the finished product is published.