Intelligent transportation systems and the railway

Railway transportation

The key features for railway transport, especially the high-speed service, are safety, punctuality and comfort. At least as far as the passengers are concerned. Equally important for operators are the factors are its high efficiency in terms of the high ratio of passengers transported or tons of freight carried per kilometer. It is also a notably low-emission means of transport, measured as CO2 per passenger. On this score it is five times more efficient than the private vehicle and seven times better than air transport. Moreover, railway transport is going through a constant boom in Europe, growing by a mean 1.7% a year since 2005, according to European Commission’s RMMS report. Ever since they were first set up, ITSs  have helped to improve the railway-passenger service while also increasing safety levels and improving management procedures by transport authorities and operators.

Railway ITSs can be broken down into those related to critical services (safe train movement) and those related to non-safety-critical services or fleet-management aids. It is in the development of the latter two systems where GMV comes into its own.

ITSs for critical services are based on rolling out dedicated, high-availability communication networks to facilitate communication between the driver and command post while also connecting up onboard and trackside safety systems. These systems include signaling infrastructure, such as Announcement of Signals and Automatic Braking (Anuncio de Señales y Frenado Automático: ASFA), the European Rail Traffic Management System ERTMS), Control and Regulation Centers (CRC) or Centralized Traffic Centers (CTC)

Non-critical operational services usually take in all systems that are useful to the operator and passenger, with diverse applications such as:

  • Real-time recording and display of the passenger compartments.
  • Downloading of recordings to the control center.
  • Triggering alarms and reporting them to the control center.
  • Remote diagnosis of train equipment faults.
  • Passenger infotainmen systems
  • Intercoms and PAs
  • Platform and station passenger information systems
  • Tracking, dispatch and regulation systems in the control center
  • Other non-critical safety systems such as output signal alert devices or speed limit warnings.

To this set of ITSs must be added ticketing systems, especially station access control by means of ticket and smartcard validation, onboard validation (particularly on trams) ticket vending machines onboard trains and in stations.

GMV has produced many notable inhouse developments within the abovementioned railway ITSs, boasting a portfolio of such notable customers as Spain’s national operator RENFE, Morocco’s national operator ONCF, Metro de Barcelona and Metro de Santiago de Chile plus rolling stock manufacturers such as ALSTOM, Talgo and CAF.

The short- and mid-term future of these systems will involve the progressive takeup of new services facilitated by improvements in mobile communications and internet services, with multimodal mobility systems drawing on Mobility as a Service (MaaS) applications and communication and infotainment systems for passengers with the future rollout of 5G networks.

Autor: Isidro Prieto Valderrey

Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV
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