To significantly improve railway operational performance it will be necessary to bring together real time operational, asset, and customer data to support regulation of traffic in an optimal way according to commercial and regulatory priorities. One of the problems to be addressed is the lack of optimisation methodologies, criteria, and approaches. This programme consists of three separate academic research projects.
DITTO (Developing Integrated Tools to Optimise Rail Systems) and DEDOTs (Developing and Evaluating Dynamic Optimisation for Train Control Systems) aim to deliver optimisation tools and methods, applications, algorithms, artificial intelligence decision support systems, and demonstrators. DEDOTS develops these in the micro (nodes) context; DITTO develops these in the macro (route) context.
DITTO outputs will provide a greater understanding of the safety implications as a result of changes in traffic regulation. Near real-time dynamic simulation tools will be used to develop an understanding of the relationship between capacity utilisation, reliability and recovery from disruption.
DEDOTs outputs will be used to develop optimisation at a network level using near-real time data within a control area and across control area boundaries. The effect of control area decisions on capacity and the effects of constraints (such as environmental, climatic, rules, regulations) will be assessed as test cases on a simulator, against a number of objective functions (such as delay, energy usage, capacity utilisation).
The third project is SafeCap+. This aims to further develop novel modelling techniques and tools that support and explore integrated and efficient dynamic capacity and energy of networks and nodes while ensuring whole systems safety. It will provide the ability to deploy tools and a framework that allows independent control rules for multiple, mixed traffic operational scenarios.
Being fundamental research, the route to market for all three projects is long and will include the need to further test and refine algorithms, and the development of industry appropriate software for integration into the Network Rail traffic management system.