AI Unlocks Rail Capacity

Traffic management on the railway is traditionally based on local knowledge and phone calls along the line to agree changes. Using the Luminate Digital Platform, traffic managers now have end-to-end visibility of the route for the first time, and there is a digital flow of data between control centers. Artificial intelligence is used to predict future delays, using data from the trackside, timetable information, and information about maintenance and rail availability.

Challenge

  • Increase capacity on the rail network without infrastructure construction
  • Increase passenger satisfaction and reduce the impact of financial penalties, by minimizing delays

Solution

  • Data on real-time track movements is gathered from the trackside
  • Luminate Digital Platform uses artificial intelligence to predict future disruption so traffic managers can intervene
  • Intel® technologies enable the solution, from the trackside to the control center
  • The Intel® Xeon® Gold processor is used to analyze rail traffic and predict future disruption using AI algorithms

Results

  • Traffic managers have end-to-end visibility of the route for the first time
  • Communications between control centers are now based on a digital flow of information, rather than phone calls
  • Traffic managers can intervene if a future delay is likely, by rerouting trains to reduce delay
  • Reducing delay can increase capacity on the network and improve customer satisfaction

 

Unlocking Capacity on the Railways

Rail forms an important part of the transport infrastructure in many countries, both for passengers and for freight. As demand increases, the rail industry faces the challenge of how to add capacity. Often, the land and budgets are not available to extend the network, so the industry needs technology solutions that will enable more capacity to be squeezed from the existing infrastructure.

At the same time, it is important to minimize delays. Not only must rail passengers have a good travel experience, but delays can also lead to financial penalties for infrastructure and rail service operators.

The goal is to reduce delays and disruptions, and in this way unlock additional capacity on the network, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce the impact of penalties.

Solution Details

Resonate's Luminate Digital Platform uses artificial intelligence to predict future delays on the train network. The solution has been trained using 10 years of historical data, so it can recognize patterns that lead to disruption.

The rail operator provides data on train movements from the trackside, gathered using Internet of Things (IoT) gateways. Luminate also has access to timetable data, and information on maintenance, temporary speed restrictions and asset failures. Combining the data, the solution can identify if a disruption is likely and alert traffic managers so they can take preventative action. The solution can predict, for example, that two trains might both want to use the same platform in an hour's time because one of them is delayed. Traffic managers can intervene to divert one of the trains to another empty platform. This would avoid the delay on those services, and any future services that rely on the timely availability of those same trains.

Luminate gives traffic managers end-to-end visibility of the route. They start the day with a forecast of what's likely to cause the biggest problems, based on track closures or train availability, so they can be proactive from the start.

When traffic managers decide on a course of action, the Luminate solution can simulate it so traffic managers can see the impact of their changes and test them. When the traffic managers are satisfied, Luminate can communicate with the signaling system to implement the changes automatically.

Communications between control centers previously relied on phone calls between traffic managers to agree changes, but Luminate provides a digital flow of information along the route that greatly simplifies decision making and implementation.

Technical Components of Solution

  • IoT Gateway. Gateways at the trackside gather data to help locate the real-time position of trains on the network. The gateways are based on Intel® processors.
  • Intel® Xeon® Processor E5. The solution is trained on historical data in the cloud using servers based on the Intel® Xeon® processor E5.
  • Intel® Xeon® Gold Processor. The real-time analysis of network performance and prediction of future disruptions is carried out using servers based on the Intel® Xeon® Gold Processor. These enable Resonate and its partner rail operators to use the same hardware and software technologies for the AI solution as they use for other workloads.
  • Traffic management interface. The rail network can be managed using laptops based on Intel® processors.

Intel Enables End-to-End Solution

"Intel® technologies enable this solution from the trackside through to the control room," said Daren Wood, Vision Director, Resonate. "The IoT gateways are based on Intel® processors and gather the data about train movements from the track side. In the control centers, traffic managers can use laptops based on Intel® processors. The Intel® Xeon® processor E5 was used to train the artificial intelligence models in the cloud. In the control center, the servers, which are based on Intel® Xeon® Gold processors, are running the live traffic analysis. The Intel® Xeon® Gold processors give us a flexible and familiar architecture that enables us to run the AI algorithms alongside other workloads on the same servers. Reliability and resilience are very important to us because any downtime directly affects the rail networks. We trust the Intel® processors to deliver us the performance that we need."

Intel collaborated with Resonate to help develop the solution. Intel engineers reviewed and optimized code to enhance the performance on the laptops in the control centers, and gave Resonate guidance on implementing the AI algorithms. "Working with Intel is enabling us to deliver advanced computing and AI algorithms into highly complex operational environments, and ultimately enabling us to improve the performance of rail delivery," said Wood.

He adds: "We've chosen the Intel® distribution for Python because that includes optimizations that take advantage of some of the hardware features in Intel® processors to speed up our AI algorithms. Increasingly, we are using the Intel® AI Builders program to access compute and consultancy to train and deploy further AI models."

"Working with Intel is enabling us to deliver advanced computing and AI algorithms into highly complex operational environments" - Daren Wood, Vision Director, Resonate

Results

Resonate and a European rail operator are half-way through a year-long trial for Luminate on a busy commuter route. At the end of the trial, they will be able to assess the impact that Luminate has had on passenger journeys. The solution has already proved to be valuable in helping to resolve incidents, such as when a power outage closed a major station for a day, with the result that trains were not where they should have been the following day. The Luminate solution helped traffic managers to see where the trains were, so they could actively manage the railway to bring it back to an acceptable level of performance.

"For the typical rail passenger, we expect delays to be reduced, which will improve their experience in using rail and also help to unlock additional capacity on the network," said Wood.

In the future, the rail operator aims to expose more of its internal data for partners such as Resonate to use in their solutions. "As more data is made available, our algorithms will be able to do much more and support the operators in many more ways," said Wood.

Spotlight on Resonate

Resonate designs, develops, and deploys digital railway and connected transport solutions. It offers solutions for traffic management, including the Luminate Digital Platform, real-time disruption management, customer experience management, and signaling control systems. The company's signaling control systems are installed throughout the UK, managing high density, mixed traffic, and complex areas, as well as rural routes.
www.resonate.tech

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