Wednesday, November 2, 2011

IBM Increases Efficiency and Safety of Railway Transportation

From Embedded Computing Design: IBM Increases Efficiency and Safety of Railway Transportation
IBM announced that Invensys Rail Dimetronic, a leading railway signaling technology company in the Spain and Portugal, is using IBM software and systems development tools to design sophisticated signaling technology for railway applications. With the help of IBM Rational, the new version of the Invensys Rail Dimetronic solution, FUTUR, allows the rail industry to run on time and safely, despite changes in the strict regulations that apply.

According to the recent IBM Global Commuter Pain Survey, respondents from Madrid reported a year-over-year increase, 30 percent in 2011 vs. 21 percent in 2010, in how traffic has negatively affected their performance at work or school. Although the railway industry has a major opportunity to provide an alternative for commuter’s pain, it is facing many challenges as it attempts to catch up to the demand. From a technological perspective, the industry must address changing requirements and a lack of interoperability.

Invensys Rail Dimetronic Addresses Requirements Issues

One of the biggest concerns for the railway industry is compliance. Spanish High Speed Lines will travel as fast as 350 km/hr and the signaling systems have to be, at a minimum, 99 percent reliable in scheduling. In Europe, the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) provides strict standards for train signaling and control. The standards are not fixed or closed, which means that railway companies need to be flexible to meet compliance demands on current and future versions.

“The IBM tool suite has enabled our team to significantly reduce the time-to-market of our products,” said Francisco Lozano, Invensys Rail Dimetronic ERTMS Program Manager. “Based on the actual usage and results of the signaling system software and on board signaling, we have detailed information on the reliability and effectiveness of the system as well as the areas that need to be further improved as standards change. As a result, we have been able to quickly model, configure, validate and demonstrate the interoperability of components required for the signaling systems software before implementing it live.”

With the help of IBM Rational tools, Invensys Rail Dimetronic receives an automated alert of affected items when a change is introduced in the system. The detailed information on required changes is then used for modeling in the solution development process to change and synchronize the system upon the real requirements. Also, Invensys Rail Dimetronic’s change request process was completely manual, but now with IBM Rational DOORS, the software and systems development process is automated.

Enhancing Interoperability for Rail Signaling

Invensys Rail Dimetronic is leveraging IBM technology to develop its FUTUR ERTMS signaling systems, which are intended to achieve full interoperability with other ERTMS suppliers and highest safety standards. It serves as an onboard and trackside system that is constructed on the basis of the European Train Control System (ETCS) specifications, providing high degrees of both efficiency and safety to railway operators throughout the entire world. Furthermore, with the updated signaling systems across Europe, rail trains can now seamlessly cross international borders.

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