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Smart Maintenance & Analysis of Transport Infrastructure


Project Introduction

The SMARTRAIL project brings together experts in the areas of highway infrastructure research, SME’s and railway authorities who are responsible for the safety of national infrastructure. The goal of the project is to reduce replacements costs, reduce delay and provide environmentally friendly maintenance solutions for ageing infrastructure networks.

This will be achieved through the development of state of the art methods to analyse and monitor the existing infrastructure and to make realistic scientific assessments of safety. These engineering assessments of current state will be used to design remediation strategies to prolong the life of existing infrastructure in a cost-effective manner with minimal environmental impact.

The SMARTRAIL vision is to provide a framework for infrastructure operators to ensure the Safe, Reliable and Efficient Operation of ageing European railway networks. This will be achieved through the SMARTRAIL holistic approach which will consider input from:

  • State of the art infrastructure inspection
  • Assessment of infrastructure
  • Rehabilitation technologies
  • Scenarios using whole life cycle cost models

The SMARTRAIL models will allow the infrastructure manager to make rational decisions on the best use of limited funding to be committed to the long-term maintenance of the railway infrastructure networks.

Project Background

In order to become the sustainable backbone of the single European Transport Area, the rail sector needs to increase its competiveness and overcome limitations on existing infrastructure by:

  • Reducing cost of maintenance
  • Increasing capacity and efficiency
  • Simultaneously improving resilience to climate change and extreme weather conditions

Tackling these challenges for continuous productivity improvements as traffic levels continue to grow is a demanding but powerful incentive to provide:

  • Innovative and practical solutions
  • Technological integration and adaptation of lessons learned in an economic dimension

The SMARTRAIL project is in line with these aims as well as the following statements expressed in the European Commission (EC) ‘Establishing a Single European Railway Area’ (RECAST) document:

“The level of investment in rail infrastructure development and maintenance remains insufficient, so that the quality of the existing infrastructure continues to decline. Poor maintenance, slow modernisation and increasing bottlenecks on the network have a direct effect on rail undertakings as they fail to keep pace with other modes of transport and to attract investment.”

Due to the above financial constraints, it is therefore necessary to develop cost effective techniques for assessment, analysis and remediation of infrastructure. The SMARTRAIL project will work closely with infrastructure to managers to ensure that new techniques and cost saving measures are implemented with safety as the number one priority.

In line with EC requirements SMARTRAIL focuses on improving the quality and safety of infrastructure in a cost effective and environmentally friendly manner.

Project Partners

Partners of this project include:

  • The University of Nottingham
  • University of Twente
  • UCD Dublin
  • Technische universitat Munchen – Weihenstephen
  • Larnród Éireann
  • Rougham & o’Donavan
  • Eurnex
  • Adaptronica
  • Fehrl
  • Institut IGH DD
  • HŽ Infrastruktura
  • ZAG
  • Instytut Kolejnictwa
  • Slovenske železnice

This project is due for completion in 2014.