Information exchange required for the control tower concept

In order to facilitate modal shift from road to rail, as set out in the European Commission’s White Paper on Transport, the rail freight sector faces the challenge of providing affordable and attractive services. The complexity of the European rail sector hampers the development of such services. Smart-Rail intends to define, implement and monitor new shipper-oriented rail freight concepts improving the competitive position of the rail sector through a Living Lab (or Continuous Improvement Tracks – CITs) approach.

This Work Package aims to improve the quality of rail services by reducing round-trip times, better rail capacity use, improving reliability and reducing transport costs. To this end, the Logistic Service Provider’s (LSP) existing logistic Control Tower IT-tool, which at present does not cover rail transport, will be extended with a rail freight service add-on: Control Tower Rail (CT-Rail). This will be carried out through a Continuous Improvement Track and will be tested on the – Bettembourg-Le Boulou corridor. Part of the CIT is to later expand the use of CT-Rail from this corridor to potential others.

In this Deliverable, the contents and shape of the information exchange required for creating the Control Tower Rail are established in detail. To this end, the state-of-the-art technologies, concepts, data exchange mechanisms, information systems, standards and controlling processes are analysed. Subsequently derives the applicability of the state-of-the-art for creating CT-Rail. Finally, the Control Tower Concept is developed; specifying data exchange interfaces as well as follow-up steps.

From the baseline analysis, it becomes clear that interfaces are required between the LSP and CT-Rail, between CT-Rail and the railway undertaking (RU), and between CT-Rail and infrastructure manager (IM), three levels ofcommunication. The data exchange can be based on direct interfacing (e.g. XML), RailData and on TSI TAF. Of all technologies, GNSS systems – especially GPS solutions – seem the most relevant for application in CT-Rail, due to the fact that they can give real-time information about train locations. If GPS is attached to the transport unit, the entire transport lane can be controlled. For the same reasons, ‘third-party’ tracking and tracing technology is also promising.