Analysis of Safe and Effective Next-Generation Rail Signalling Systems using a FTA-SAN Approach

Joelle Aoun, Rob M.P. Goverde, Roberto Nardone, Egidio Quaglietta, Valeria Vittorini

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific

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Moving Block (MB) and Virtual Coupling (VC) rail signalling will change current train operation paradigm by migrating vital equipment from trackside to onboard to reduce train separation and maintenance costs. Their actual deployment is however constrained by the industry’s need to identify confi gurations of MB and VC signalling equipment which can eff ectively guarantee safe train movements even under de-graded operational conditions involving component faults. In this paper, we analyse the eff ectivity of MB and VC in safely supervising train separation under nominal and degraded conditions by using an innovative approach which combines Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) and Stochastic Activity Network (SAN). A FTA model of unsafe train movement is defi ned for both MB and VC capturing functional interactions and cause-eff ect relations among the diff erent signalling components. The FTA is then used as a basis to apportion signalling component failure rates needed to feed the SAN model. Eff ective MB and VC train supervision is analysed by means of SAN-based simulations in the specifi c scenario of an error in the Train Position Reporting (TPR) for fi ve rail mar-ket segments featuring diff erent traffi c characteristics, namely high-speed, mainline, regional, urban and freight. Results show that the overall approach can support infra-structure managers, railway undertakings, and rail system suppliers in investigating ef-fectiveness of MB and VC in safely supervising train movements in scenarios involving diff erent types of degraded conditions and failure events. The proposed method can hence support the railway industry in identifying eff ective and safe design confi gura-tions of next-generation rail signalling systems.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventRailBelgrade 2023: 10th International Conference on Railway Operations Modelling and Analysis - Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
Duration: 25 Apr 202328 Apr 2023


ConferenceRailBelgrade 2023
Abbreviated titleICROMA
OtherRailBelgrade 2023 is the 10th International Conference on Railway Operations Modelling and Analysis (ICROMA). It will promote interdisciplinary discussions in the railway planning and operations research area by combining the expertise of academics and professionals. RailBelgrade 2023 will give researchers, consultants, and industrial practitioners the opportunity to meet, present their latest research, exchange know-how, and discuss current developments and applications. Leading railway scientists from different disciplines and professionals from the railway industry will deliver keynote speeches.
Internet address


  • Moving Block
  • Virtual Coupling
  • Safety
  • Performance
  • Stochastic Activity Network


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