Two pieces of research outlining the capabilities and technologies required for the next generation of railway traffic management systems have been released by RSSB.
As part of The Future Traffic Regulation and Optimisation (FuTRO) programme, the projects outline the optimisation tools, algorithms and decision support systems for increasing capacity on the network and improving overall railway operational performance.
Developing and Evaluating Dynamic Optimisation for Train Control Systems (DEDOTS)
A collaboration between University College London and University of Birmingham, looks at increasing capacity using dynamic algorithms to control train paths and trajectories, ensuring trains arrive at junctions and other fixed points of infrastructure at the right time and speed. Through reduced stopping and starting, train flow, energy and timetables can be better managed leading to increased capacity, reduced energy usage and fewer disturbances to network running. The results have been validated through simulation exercises and elements of the research are already being trialled, with further development required before being deployed on the railway.
Led by the University of Newcastle, has created a selection of tools and novel modelling techniques to help evaluate energy consumption at railway junctions and provide traffic management advice, ensuring whole systems safety. The SafeCap simulator alerts signalling engineers to any unsafe combination of line speed, deceleration and signal spacing while the energy module provides an estimate of energy usage of proposed service patterns including implications of alternative traffic regulation decisions for resolving traffic flow conflicts. SafeCap also proposes a new system framework for developing a signalling and dispatching advisory system based on artificial intelligence, which prompts the operator to pursue a recommended course of action, based on the current state of the rail network, helping regulate traffic management in the event of disturbances.