Back in March this year I wrote about a work package on formal methods and standard interfaces, led by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket, and part of the European Shift2Rail (S2R) Joint Undertaking. Since that time, the proposal for the overall project that includes this work package has been submitted and become approved, and the project started Sept 1, 2017.

The project kickoff was held about a month ago in Brussels, and on the very same day, the recent news on two rail giants (Siemens and Alstom) planning to merge was disclosed. As representatives of these companies and many other European rail system suppliers and infrastructure managers were present, it was interesting to try to gauge their views on this merger (in short, most were surprised by the news and hadn’t had time to digest).

The project’s official name is Enhancing railway signalling systems based on train satellite positioning, on-board safe train integrity, formal methods approach and standard interfaces, enhancing Traffic Management System functions, and has a project website (click here).

My assignment is to assist Trafikverket acting as deputy manager for this work package, called Formal methods and Standardisation for Smart Signalling Systems. Formal verification will be a key topic in this work package, as will standard interfaces; interfaces constitute an orthogonal aspect to formal methods (one can use one without the other), but the combination can be key to increase competition, and enable more efficient application (and reuse) of formal methods. Ultimately, this work package aims to leverage state-of-the-art formal methods and standard interfaces to address the following high-level objectives:

  • Cost savings in signaling system life-cycle (LCC)
  • Increased market competition and standardization
  • Improved interoperability and reliability
  • Shortened time-to-market of new products

The work will be performed in collaboration with many European railway industry actors within this Joint Undertaking during the next three years. Results from this and other work packages will be presented as part of Shift2Rail dissemination activities, so stay tuned!


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