Future Train Traffic Control - FTTS
A research cooperation with Trafikverket, Swedish Transport Administration
Tomorrow´s train traffic will require improved methods and systems for traffic control. Due to the high utilization of the railway network capacity, higher speeds and many separate traffic operators, it will in the future be necessary to control the traffic with higher efficiency, precision and quality. At the same time, safety must always be in focus as well as the traffic controllers' work environment. To achieve this, new control principles and technical systems are needed. Our research has developed a knowledge base for future development of traffic control systems, prototypes of new control systems and an experimental environment for tests and evaluations. Research activities also include description and analysis of the control tasks, design of new control principles, user interface design, decision support systems, work organization and work place design. The new control strategy "control by re-planning" has shown to significantly improve the operational traffic planning and control processes. New integrated user interfaces are designed to support early detection of conflicts and disturbances, to give high situation awareness and efficient tools for solving traffic conflicts. During the last year an operational test system - STEG - has been developed, tested and evaluated at a traffic control center in Sweden. The results are very positive!
Our long term vision of train traffic control in Sweden is presented here.
The project is financed through Trafikverket's R&D funding program.
Control by re-planning
Operative train traffic control is today focused on controlling the infrastructure. In earlier research we have shifted the control paradigm from today's technology oriented into a more traffic oriented one. This is done by real-time re-planning. The continuously updated traffic plan is normally executed by automated systems. The new control principle consists of a dynamic planning view in form of a time-distance graph, decision support that helps the controller to identify disturbances and conflicts and automatic systems for execution of the traffic plan. The traffic controller can re-plan traffic (time aspects, track usage) via direct manipulation of the graph lines in the interface. Also track maintenance and other activities can be planned. The system automatically calculates all consequences of the changes and shows the effects on all trains within the actual time-distance space.
More about the new control concept
STEG, an operational test system
Banverket, Swedish Rail Administration, has based on the FTTS research results and prototypes, initiated a project for implementation of a fully operational test system for train traffic control, the STEG-system. The development of STEG was initiated during 2006 and the system was taken into operation in April 2008. Using STEG the train traffic in an area north of Norrköping is controlled using the new principle "control by re-planning in real-time". The STEG system is still in full operation and a comprehensive evaluation has been made.
More about STEG and the evaluation
SIMSON, an on-line demo system
SIMSON was earlier developed in order to support research activities and to evaluate the prototypes of the train traffic control strategies and user interfaces in a laboratory environment. SIMSON is a test implementation of requirements derived from the research activities. Using the SIMSON system we were able to perform experiments where experienced traffic controllers (dispatchers) controlled simulated traffic situations. The test sessions were recorded and evaluated. Several research reports describe this system and the experiments. The SIMSON system is here partially available on-line and it is possible to see the user interface and test the interaction tools. The purpose of this demo system is to show the interface and interaction in a way that allows direct tests for those interested.
More about SIMSON
Reports from the project can be found here.