Space Based Services for Railway Signalling

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  • ESA-STAR REFAO8038
  • ActivityFeasibility Study
  • Closing date17 November 2014

The objective of the Feasibility Study is to determine the technical feasibility and economic viability of an integrated satellite navigation and satellite communication solution complementing the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

Space Based Services for Railway Signalling (SBS-RailS) has the scope to analyse a solution based on GNSS and available augmentation systems in combination with satellite communications and other terrestrial means to be used in ERTMS solutions. The integrated application will take into account the needs of the users and will focus on the overall world market with a special attention to the European scenarios.

Nowadays, the adoption of ERTMS is limited by the high investment cost for the required infrastructure (train on-board equipment,  infrastructure along the tracks, GSM-R as communication solution, etc.) and by the subsequent maintenance costs. Therefore, ERTMS is typically implemented for high speed lines (HSL), where the high level of utilisation justifies such high investments; these costs represent an obvious barrier for the deployment of such high safety standard in non-High Speed Lines (e.g. Conventional Main Lines, Regional Lines, and Local Lines). The currently applied national safety standards do not always match the safety level provided by ERTMS. Taking into account the important role that satellites and related services can play in the railway domain, the study will analyse the requirements that a satellite aided ERTMS solution needs to satisfy in order to be attractive to the railway market.