Defining New Standards for Data and Operational Systems

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Operational systems and the data they produce are critical to the running of the railway, providing information to both customers and staff. They inform long-term decisions, such as timetable planning, through to very-short-term decisions such as which services to cancel in times of disruption, or informing customers of how their train is running today. Ours is an increasingly data hungry world. And so it becomes increasingly important that we can manage it efficiently and effectively, to provide the information we need. Central to this is how we manage data internally through our systems. Standards provide a key part of the puzzle.

Standards that will harmonise the way things are done—leading to efficiencies and creating economies of scale. The Rail Technical Strategy recognises the importance of a data driven railway. A railway fit for the future. To that end, a new standards committee is being created—the first in over 10 years.

The Data, Systems and Telematics Standards Committee (DST SC) will draw up and lead the implementation of new standards for operational systems. This will include their interfaces and the data flowing into and out of them. At the time of writing (April 2022) RSSB is populating the committee from the RSSB membership categories. It will need to draw from a broad range of expertise and experience from the realms of system architectures, real world operations and data specifiers.


Telematics, short for ‘Telecommunications and Informatics’, centres on the sending, receiving, and storing of data and information across disparate organisations, systems, and devices. Our telematic specifications aim to harmonise the procedures, data, and messages exchanged between computer systems used by train operators and infrastructure managers. To make them as seamless and efficient as possible.

Operational systems

This covers the multitude of systems which support many operational processes and disciplines, from future timetable planning to live operational information. The new Standards Committee will create standardised information exchange formats and increase the ability to exploit data. This will help innovation, speed service recovery, and deliver great customer information.

RSSB support

The RSSB team has experience and expertise across a wide range of operational systems and the data they use. They understand the strategic needs our industry has and the challenges it faces. The Standards Committee addresses a recognised gap in whole-industry oversight around this field and aligns with multiple cross-organisation strategies and industry priorities. It provides an opportunity for RSSB and its Members to collaborate and move forward in a cohesive manner.

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