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Simulation and Railway Operations

Optimizing railway capacity while maintaining the current infrastructure is one of the challenges railway corporations worldwide face today. Increasing passenger numbers and availability of trains in dense urban areas require more frequent train operations. In increased railway capacity operations, one can expect more events to happen in less time. Human factors and disturbances like delays, deteriorating weather conditions and equipment loss and failure will have a greater effect on denser train networks.

To investigate the feasibility in practice of increased railway capacity operations, while maintaining current safety, real-time testing and simulation methods are of great value to obtain accurate and reliable data. An effective simulation method for this purpose is called Human-In-The-Loop simulations, because of the human operator inputs taking part in the real-time simulation loop. One of the factors that can be investigated are human factors; the capability of the human operators to perform tasks, interact with the environment and interact with machine interfaces.

Human-In-The-Loop simulations are widely used to train pilots of aircraft. With the same technique, train operators will be able not only to asses the influence of the train driver capability, but also to look at the effects of changing weather conditions, train performance, signaling systems, safety systems, controls and communication with traffic controllers. All these features can be reproduced in a train simulator using advanced simulation technology and systems.

With our experience in flight and driving simulators, IDT has the capabilities and knowledge to realize research and training simulators for the railway operators and research institutes.

ProRail, the Netherlands

ProRail is the Dutch railway infrastructure manager. IDT has performed an analysis and specified the requirements for simulation equipment to train ProRail staff and to optimize railway operations. During this study, IDT has developed simulation fidelity process. The simulation fidelity process is a method to objectively and systematically determine the requirements for a simulation system.

The process defines the research projects and objectives of railway operators. This determines the required environment or simulation scenarios. The tasks of the operator, who will be functioning in this scenario, are derived and for each task it is determined what simulation feature is required and what the fidelity level should be. Combining existing simulation standards of the railway operator, the simulation system requirements are derived. This method can easily be adopted for other types of human-in-the-loop simulations.


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