Concept and Methodology

The European rail transport infrastructure network is a vast, complex collection of interacting components and represents a complex adaptive system. One of the features of complex systems is that they can learn from their performance and improve. This evolutionary ability ubiquitous in the natural world has been applied to manage complex systems in the space, healthcare, energy and financial services sectors. In the rail transport sector at present this capability is not considered, rather learning occurs at an object level and this knowledge accumulated is mostly used only in hindcasting and forensic analyses of failures. As a result, critical safety, operational and investment decisions are made on a subjective basis and are based on an over-reliance on individual experience and know-how. Decisions tend to be based on a just-in-time basis or in reaction to failures.The GoSAFE RAIL project will be transformative for asset management in the rail and general transport sectors by developing the following key concepts: