Information published on 28 October 2014 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 421.

Smart Systems Applied to Logistics and Transport

  • Security

UIC, represented by Mr José Pires (Senior Advisor of the UIC Security Division), was invited by Logistel to the International Conference on ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems): Smart Systems Applied to Logistics and Transport on 21 and 22 October in Cascais, Portugal. The event was also attended by UIC members REFER, EPE, represented by Eng. José Carlos Clemente (Head of Department for Innovation and Knowledge at Refer. Representative of Portugal in EuRoC - European Robotics Challenges Project (Portugal) and Dr. Cristina Pinto Dias (Vice-Chairperson of CP, Comboios de Portugal and chairman of the Board of Directors of EMEF – Railway Maintenance), presented their views on the “Transport, Energy and Environmental Efficiency” and “Intelligent Systems in Railway Transport” topics.

Logistel, SA is a Portuguese company, created in 2002, at the initiative of a Group of Personalities of recognized prestige and know how in the area and by the following Business Entities: Grupo Barraqueiro, the largest Private Transport Group in Portugal; TAAG – Angola Air Lines; Grupo Ensinus and ISG – Business and Economics School, a University Institution in Portugal.

Conference background

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) has been developing rapidly, particularly since the 1980s, and it is now on the agenda of all countries and all political leaders, managers and decision makers in the transportation sector, covering all modes of transport, as well as in the area of logistics.

This development is due to the increasing need to meet the great challenges faced by today’s society, namely concerning reducing energy costs and CO2 emissions, operational efficiency, increased competitiveness, safety and services quality.

There are, throughout the world, many experiences and countless situations to which ITS has given a valuable contribution and there is still a remarkable effort and investment in research and development of optimised solutions.

To evaluate the opportunities offered by ITS, to follow the developments obtained and to discuss the perspectives which emerge, are enriching and decisive factors to which this Conference aims to contribute.

Conference Objectives

The main objective of this conference was to promote the exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge, in the area of intelligent systems applied to logistics and transport, in order to disseminate information and expertise which may contribute to the adoption of adaptive solutions to specific contexts of different countries, regions or institutions; and disclose pilot projects and demonstrations using services, systems, products and intelligent technologies in logistics and transport, disseminating their results.

Transport, Energy and Environmental Efficiency

On the panel “Transport, Energy and Environmental Efficiency”, Dr. Cristina Pinto Dias presented the theme GREEN “TRANSPORT” “a PARTNER of SMART MOBILITY", sharing a pragmatic, dynamic and positive vision, based on the development and research carried out in the Mobility Systems generically, and in particular in the Portuguese railways.

In this presentation emphasis was given to the current national set of energetic and environmental indicators that make clear the imperative of having Public Transport as the “Green Transport” as it was called by Dr. Cristina Dias. Generically public transport (including railways) needs to be understood as part of the solution for the Economy and Decarburization developments being its contribution seen to improve the energy and environmental efficiency, while preserving the economic and financial sustainability in the short-medium term.

Within the national context CP is already working very hard to provide solutions towards these aims. Some examples of this were provided with regard to the development of innovative methods in the context of rolling stock and contactless ticketing, that demonstrate that it is possible “to do more with less" in a creative and innovative manner, thereby achieving the desired balance and compromise between the State, companies, customers and taxpayers.

Dr. Cristina Pinto Dias spoke of providing a strategic vision to achieve these objectives; the change must follow a logical transport systems development that needs a Green Growth, Competiveness (including Jobs creation) and Cohesion. All of these supported by a 3I Smart Eco-Innovator System to enhance Inter-modality, Eco-Systems Integration and social-economics Inclusion.

The “Green Transports" are in the unique position to promote and contribute to the growth, competitiveness and cohesion of Portugal (and any other country), supported on Intelligent Systems, which are Intermodal, Integrators and Inclusive, aiming to “everyone and everything to be closer.”

Intelligent Systems in Railway Transport

On this panel, UIC provided a wider view point with regard to rail security intelligent systems.

Security is a cornerstone of any sustainable mobility policy and mobility system. Making rail transport secure is complex as it must be open and accessible and enable an efficient flow of passengers and goods. At the same time, rail, like any other transport system, faces a broad spectrum of threats, ranging from low-probability-high-impact events (e.g. terrorist attack) to high-probability-low-impact (e.g. vandalism) that needs different security technologies (e.g. chemical sensors, intrusion detection systems, video management systems). This leads to the challenge of integrating the various security technologies into a coherent and easily manageable system.

In the near future, this technology will have a key role in the levels of security that transport systems will provide to its customers. However, the human factor cannot be forgotten as the “brain” of the rail security management and control. This “role” is essential to deliver a coherent answer to the complex threats that everyday “target” the railways such as:

  • Terrorism
  • Vandalism
  • Sabotage
  • Property theft
  • Robbery
  • Violent crime
  • Cyber crime
  • Financial crime
  • Etc.…………

The security intelligent systems that support the rail operations providing its security are mostly structured in two methodologies of action, Security Command and Control Centre (SOCC) and Crisis Management System (CMS).

The role of the SOCC is to ingest and correlate various event sources into a single platform and thus improves the situational awareness among those persons that need to work with the information, for instance security operators or first responders. Several SOCCs can share a situation and cooperate. Typically such a system visualises the events in a GIS map and shows related video cameras, recorded videos and it provides operational and security related procedures. Simple events can be correlated to a major incident which means that the event contains additional information on for instance a responsible person, severity, certainty, and urgency. The SOCC system helps the operator in his daily work to suppress nuisance alarms, to group similar alarms, and to relate the event with other information and sensors. The SOCC guides the operator through a stressful situation through electronic Standard Operational Procedures (eSOP). These procedures are programmed today but can be executed as a graphical business process in the future. To allow for a continuous improvement of the eSOPs during operation, the decisions and actions of the operator can be recorded. With such a system the operator can be trained with simulated operational situations.

A CMS is a solution to manage a crisis with various responders and any class of requested stakeholders. A CMS has to handle multiple operators, transportation modes and locations. A crisis manager has to act and make decisions based on all available real time information. This information can come from external experts and external media types like news feeds, live and recorded, as well as fixed and mobile video that need to be integrated. As situations evolve, hand-over from CMS to CMS may prove to be necessary.

The challenge of combining a large variety of technological and procedural security solutions lies in the technical integration of the various systems and in the ability to combine the strength of these devices in a global and coherent system. This section provides theoretical background information on interoperability.

As always when discussing security it must be kept in mind that even though security is a fundamental value in our society, it does come with economic costs (for investment, deployment, operation and maintenance) and social costs, in terms of potentially reduced freedom and privacy for citizens. When prioritising one over the other, a balance needs to be achieved. And for that to be possible, “one cannot expect to solve today’s problems by applying yesterday’s solutions”. This means that research and innovation are absolutely essential for the development of “transport intelligence”.

This applies not just to rail security or rail safety, but to all sub-systems of the rail system. And that was what Eng. José Carlos Clemente presented within the context of the SHIFT²RAIL (European rail joint technology initiative) and EUROC (European Rail Operating community Consortium).

SHIFT²RAIL is an unprecedented opportunity for the European railway sector and an unprecedented investment in rail for improving the quality and cost effectiveness of the railway system, that will strengthen the attractiveness of rail to end users, accelerate the integration of customer-led requirements and technologies as innovative business solutions and pave the way towards a sustainable transport system for future generations in Europe. Thus, it will reinforce the European leadership in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the railway system.

Within that context, REFER together with other UIC members and partners, joined EUROC to constitute a wider and stronger group of “willing innovators” to contribute to SHIFT²RAIL. This will allow a vision and strategy to be developed and implemented towards innovative “intelligent” systems in the areas of Control, Command and Communication, Infrastructure, Rolling Stock, Energy Supply and Consumption, Railway Staff, Information Management, Rail Security and Rail Safety.

These initiatives will definitely provide tools to close the gap between operational needs and Research & Innovation, to better support the operational implementation of innovative solutions, establish the collaborative approach from the entire European rail sector view point leading to business-led solutions (let’s get on and deliver).

To know more about this International Conference please contact: José Pires pires@uic.org