CWI and ProRail have recently started a research collaboration in the field of incident handling on the Dutch railways. The 4-year research plan focuses on the prevention and handling of a wide range of incidents on the railway, such as railway runners, infrastructure disruptions and collisions. The Incident Management department of ProRail focuses on the prevention of disruptions and if disruptions occur, making the track available again quickly for train traffic. The aim is to prevent trains from stopping for an unnecessarily long time as a result of these disruptions, resulting in delays or failure of trains. ProRail wants to improve its services by using the knowledge in the field of mathematical modeling, optimization and analysis techniques of the research groups Networks & Optimization and Stochastics of CWI.
Using data from ProRail, researchers from the CWI will make predictions on the time and location of possible future incidents, so that ProRail can respond to this and try to prevent the incidents. In addition, the CWI researchers will analyze which adjustments in the area of personnel and resources in the ProRail Incident Management organization will lead to a performance improvement in the prevention and handling of incidents on the track. Incident history, geographical and demographic data will be used.
The Stochastics group of CWI has extensive experience in the field of forecasting of incidents. For example, they have developed algorithms that optimize the coverage of available ambulances within a region. Stokhos spinoff originated from this research: Stokhos provides software solutions for proactively relocating emergency services on the basis of future expectations.
Project leader Rob van der Mei is delighted with the new project: “The ProRail project is building further on the work we have done in previous projects, such as predicting incidents for ambulance trips and high-impact crimes, such as domestic burglary, and street robbery, in cooperation with the Amsterdam / Amstelland police. In this way we can use our knowledge and experience to help ProRail and thus ultimately train passengers a step further.”