EUROPEAN RAIL TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT: THE NETWORK AND SERVICES AREA OF SANT’ANNA SCHOOL TECIP INSTITUTE PARTNERS IN THE H2020 OPTIMA PROJECT TO IMPLEMENT COMMON MONITORING SYSTEM AND OPERATIONAL SOLUTIONS

Monitoring of railway traffic is an essential part of the EU-funded three-year project H2020 OPTIMA cOmmunication Platform for TraffIc ManAgement demonstrator system being developed by 15 research and industry partners under the coordination of the Union Des Industries Ferroviaires Europeennes – UNIFE. Researchers of the Network and Services Area at Sant’Anna School TeCIP Institute are the Technical Leaders involved in the design of a communication platform (Integration Layer) using standardized data structures and processes to manage the Communication/Data exchange between different services/clients. The platform validation carried out by partners RFI (Italy)ADIF (Spain), and SZDC (Czech Republic) will consolidate real-time data from operators and infrastructure managers monitoring location of control points, traction power consumption, energy recovery and passenger information.

With a budget of €70 billion, the European Framework Program Horizon 2020, funded active research and innovation developments in a wide range of areas to the benefit of the whole European economy. The Transport cluster was granted a total budget of €52 billion and the OPTIMA project Joint Research Unit Shift2Rail received funding for 2 million euro (15% of total amount has been allocated for the Technical Leader unit). The overall goal of the OPTIMA project is to integrate new standardized inter-faces with additional rail business (advanced driver advisory system, automated and flexible dispatching systems including conflict detection and resolution) and external environmental information services for a full interoperability.

The new Communication platform demonstrator within the Traffic Management Evolution will increase track safety, infrastructure capacity, and competitiveness of European railways allowing a seamless access to heterogeneous data sources, both internal and external to the high-speed rail system. Project partners SIRTIArdanuyOltis Group along with researchers from the University of Genova and the University of Newcastle will contribute to the benefit of the European rail system by reducing engineering and reporting systems costs.

Piero Castoldi, Professor of Telecommunication Systems, highlights how “the EU-funded project OPTIMA is closely linked to the high-level goals of the Shift2Rail (S2R) program. The link was set up due to the scope of the IP open call that OPTIMA responded to, which determined and clearly stated the necessity to step into the overall development of an optimized Traffic Management System. Over the last decades, our Network and Services Area have managed the Advanced Research on Networking testbed that features access, metro, and core networks interconnecting emulated data centers. Academic and industrial collaborations, such as our partnership with Italian FS company, were established to support data sharing and cooperative safety management, as part of a common digitalization strategy. Excellence driven by the EU's railway network business needs will lead to strong data reliability, to better manage traffic, passenger’s attendance, quality of monitoring processes and higher quality of service.”

 Sant’Anna School researcher Gabriele Cecchetti from the Network and Services Area will be responsible for the configuration of middleware of Integration Layer to address the challenges of detection and mitigation of interference. The s.c. middleware (the function of middleware is to mediate interaction between applications, i.e. message exchange, time synchronization services, basic system integration requirements…) architectural properties will enable continuous monitoring of the services that relate to the real-time status and performance data from the network and from the train.