Train-centric signalling systems represent the most promising technology for increasing railway capacity and reducing railway life-cycle costs. These systems include Moving Block signalling which enables trains running at absolute braking distance, and Virtual Coupling that even aims at running at relative braking distance with train sets virtually coupled into a convoy. MOVINGRAIL aims at the further development of train-centric signalling systems by introducing and applying a multidimensional analysis framework to assess train-centric signalling from the operational, technological and business perspectives. This is applied to Moving Block and Virtual Coupling at different levels, highlighting the differences to traditional fixed block signalling.
For Moving Block signalling, state-of-the-art formal methods for train operation modelling are used to assess and improve Moving Block Operational and Engineering Rules for safe and efficient train separation. In addition, strategies and methods are developed for testing Moving Block technology, and an extensible simulation architecture is defined for automated testing that minimizes the amount of on-site testing.
For Virtual Coupling, formal methods and simulators are applied to assess and recommend radio-based communication architectures, including train-to-train communication. This also includes an evaluation and comparison of the state-of-the-art of automated functions and communication architectures from Automated Vehicle technology, including platooning. The market potential of Virtual Coupling is analyzed by defining scenarios and applying a SWOT analysis for the various railway market segments. Simulation models of railway operations are used in addition to expert opinions of key stakeholders to feed a multi-criteria cost-effectiveness analysis. The research eventually results in an application roadmap and business risk analysis for the implementation of the Virtual Coupling concept to the different markets.