Train drivers have an important role to play within the framework of intermodal transport chains. They oversee the service provision in the rail cargo sector.
Project RouteComAssistance was concerned with the optimization of the train driver’s function and their involvement in the information flow of transport chains.
The project’s aim was the optimization of the transport chains’ management as well as an improvement of the quality of the service provision.
The development of the RouteComAssistance-system automatically facilitates the sequence of operations of the train drivers and supports an improvement of the information flow along the transport chains. By designing the project, a technical as well as organizational innovative solution was found for the rail freight transport and its operators.
RouteComAssistance is a software solution based on easily accessible hardware components that enables a simplified approach to the optimization of the sequence of operations and an automized as well as site-specific processing of essential information. The system is put together by using a backend as well as a frontend-solution. The backend can be regarded as the central management of the system. All information that enters the system is bundled and processed here by back-office-staff employing an user interface. The frontend is an application meant for mobile end devices such as tablets. The train drivers are supplied with site-specific information during the drive via those devices. In doing so, differences between information relevant for rail operation, safety-related information (e.g. speed) and additional information supporting the decision making concerning the workflow, become apparent. A rough description of the frontend of the RouteComAssistance-system would be “a navigation device for train drives.” An important difference between a conventional navigation device and the frontend solution is, however, an active, bi-directional communication between front-and backend. This means that relevant data is continually transmitted. There is a difference, though, between the following data/information:
• Relevant information concerning a train ride are transmitted by using the backend (e.g. train schedule, information on tunnels, etc.).
• Site specific IST-information about the train ride are continually and automatically transmitted to the backend. This makes it possible for back office staff members to react quickly to events like delays.
• Information about events such as disturbances can be actively transmitted via the frontend without much effort to the train drivers and enable the back office’s quick response.
The RouteComAssistance-system is an important part of creating a paperless workplace for train drivers, who are still obligated by certain directives to carry documents in paper form. Furthermore, the system plays an essential part regarding the modernization of the work environment. It also leads to an improvement of the information flow along the transport chain. Besides those technological and organizational optimizations, the system addresses normative specifications (e.g. technical specifications) in the interoperability sector that are mandated to be implemented by rail transport operators. The route book is an example for this. It is going to be an obligatory part of the information that will have to be provided by the rail transport operators. The route book contains information about railway routes – including in the transnational sector – in a standardized format. Those requirements are in accordance to those of the RouteComAssistance-sytem.
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MEV Independent Railway Services GmbH
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