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Intelligent Integration of Railway Systems

In accordance with the ERRAC objectives, the InteGRail project aims at developing an intelligent coherent information system by integrating all the main railway subsystems. The objective is to achieve a higher level of coordination and co-operation between the key railway processes.

Tags: Rail


An efficient and well-integrated European railway system is the only answer to the growing demand for mobility in Europe: one which can cope with all the technical, logistical and environmental constraints, to enable sustainable growth of the enlarged Union. To keep up with such expectations, railways need to improve in terms of capacity, average speed and punctuality, safety and the optimised usage of resources.

ERRAC, the European Rail Research Advisory Council, has proposed the target of doubling rail passenger traffic and tripling rail freight traffic by the year 2020. Responding to ERRAC’s challenge, the InteGRail project intends to improve railway performance by better co-operation and information exchange between the different subsystems, allowing for a global optimisation at system level.

Currently, increasingly larger amounts of information are accessible from all of the railway subsystems. A number of information systems are also available where information is stored for immediate or later usage. Unfortunately, most information is produced in proprietary formats and its circulation is limited to specific subsystems and applicative platforms. This can make difficult barriers, or even create them, for a wider flow and usage of information, as is required by new and advanced methodologies. These problems are emphasised when considering an international context, for example one of the European corridors, where the number of systems, actors and networks involved can become huge and ad hoc solutions are impossible.


The InteGRail project aims to create a holistic, coherent information system, integrating the major railway sub-systems in order to achieve higher levels of performance of the railway system in terms of capacity, average speed and punctuality, safety and the optimised usage of resources. Building on results achieved by previous projects, InteGRail will propose new intelligent procedures and will contribute to the definition of new standards, in accord with EC directives and technical specifications for interoperability (TSI).

The project will not replace existing systems but it will be used in conjunction with them.

InteGRail will favour a higher level of interoperability of railway information systems, easier information sharing and increased global optimisation and performance.

Meeting ERRAC’s goal means reducing costs and enhancing environmental sustainability, while maintaining a high level of safety, compared to other transport modes. InteGRail is crucial to meeting these challenges. The specific goals include:

  • reliability improved by up to 50% for targeted systems through optimised maintenance
  • 30% availability improvement and reduction in irregularities
  • 10% reduction in maintenance costs
  • 5% increase in punctuality
  • increased capacity in line with ERRAC objectives
  • information sharing within the railway community, enabling optimisation of decision-making for improved performance.
ERRAC Vision at 2020
ERRAC Vision at 2020

Description of work

Due to its size and complexity, the project has been divided into a number of subprojects (SP):

SP1 – Project management, integration activities and horizontal support

SP2 – System requirements, architecture and continuous assessment, identifying information that needs to be shared

SP3A – Intelligent system monitoring and control to ensure that the right information can be obtained

SP3B – Intelligent system maintenance, identifying ways of using information more effectively for maintenance optimisation

SP3C – Intelligent system management, identifying ways of combining and using information effectively for management requirements

SP3D – Advanced system communication, ensuring that information can be transmitted effectively to decision-makers

SP4 – System integration, testing and validation, demonstrating performance improvement.

By creating innovative concepts in the areas of train control and monitoring, maintenance, management and communications, the proposed project will completely re-define the basic elements required by each system. The project will assess the needs of rolling stock, infrastructure, traffic management (including the European Rail Traffic Management System, ERTMS), train operations and propose intelligent procedures to process all available additional information to its best advantage.


InteGRail will deliver the specification of a standard platform and protocol in order to interface existing or new information systems, so as to enable the exchange of key information between subsystems, which are needed to improve the performance of the railway system.

InteGRail will enable the RIGHT information to be in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time through:

  1. specification of information sharing
  2. development of a protocol language as standard, using ontology and quality of service-oriented telecom resources.

The specifications developed in the project will be proposed as candidate standards, through dissemination to and co-operation with relevant standardisation bodies, or as contributions to new or existing TSIs, in accordance with EC and other directives.

An all-pervasive, wide-band communication framework, offering a suitable digital data link between trains and ground installations, will be defined and proposed as the future reference standard in railways.

InteGRail targeted results
InteGRail targeted results