Roadmap development for the deployment of virtual coupling in railway signalling

Joelle Aoun*, Egidio Quaglietta, Rob M.P. Goverde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


Developments in the railway industry are continuously evolving and long-term transition strategies can enable an efficient implementation of signalling technologies that provide a significant increase in network capacity and operation efficiency. Virtual Coupling (VC) advances moving block signalling by further reducing train separation to less than an absolute braking distance using train-to-train communication and cooperative train control within a Virtually-Coupled Train Set (VCTS). This paper proposes a method to develop scenario-based roadmaps based on a SWOT and hybrid Delphi-AHP multi-criteria analysis. Step-changes are identified and initially assessed in a Swimlane based on priorities and time order collected from stakeholders through a survey and further developed in a workshop. Optimistic and pessimistic scenarios are assessed regarding various factors and timelines. Step-changes are initially defined in a Swimlane and then enriched with optimistic and pessimistic scenarios to ultimately derive scenario-based roadmaps. Durations for each of the step-changes are developed into scenario-based roadmaps that can be used as an efficient tool for stakeholders to identify and solve potential criticalities/risks to the deployment of VC as well as to setup investment and development plans. The approach is applied to deliver implementation roadmaps of VC for different market segments with particular focus on mainline railways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122263
Number of pages17
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Planning
  • Railway operations
  • Railway technology
  • Roadmapping
  • Virtual Coupling


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