Digital twin (DT) is a virtual representation of the real railway systems with track (including bridges, tunnels, subsoil and surrounding structures, etc.), rolling stock, power supply, signalling, interfaces, interaction, operation and management, with real-time and historical data of the system.
It can merge the fundamental knowledge of the behavior of the subsystems with data and analytic capabilities. Digital simulation can predict future performance of the system and support development of alternative solutions for present and future control. DT interacts with most of the topics of the Institute and is a home where the research results should reside. The Institute plans to develop a DT for a representative block of the Dutch railway network as a common infrastructure, serving as a test bed for research and development. The methods and methodologies tested with the DT can subsequently be implemented elsewhere if successful. The DT can also help in identifying knowledge gaps. The development of a DT requires research into: simulation (multi)scalability, tractability and reusability (transferring effective methods from one railway line/area to another line/area).