Railway Systems


The globalisation of the economy and the growing demand in mobility lead to an enormous increase of traffic volume, which is primarily taken by the road. In order to work against this trend, the competitiveness of the railway as a means of transport has to be enhanced. An efficient usage of the railway system as well as technical and operational interoperability are important key factors for this.

The research activities in the field of Railway Systems concentrate on the development of innovative technologies, methods and concepts for the operational, technical and economic optimisation of the railway system in the context of railway automation. Our goal is to make rail traffic more safe, efficient and competitive while advancing the European harmonization.


An exploratory focus of the field of Railway Systems lays upon the optimisation of Life Cycle Management. Regarding the whole life cycle of control and security technology, toeholds for cost reduction are identified. The focus is on acquisition and maintenance of the systems as well as on the integrated optimisation of migration processes for new technological solutions. Our goals are the development of technology at an optimal cost and the construction of a holistic asset management.

On regional tracks, high maintenance- and repair expenses, as well as the partly manually operated signalling and control, lead to considerable costs. Deciding factors for the success of improvements in efficiency are innovative technological and economical solutions under appliance of standard components as well as the functional and operational optimisation considering life cycle costs (LCC) and the RAMS aspects of reliability, availability, maintainability and safety. The various approaches are evaluated by the simulations.

Safe rail traffic makes high demands on operations control and technology alike. Accordingly certification processes are intricate and complex. Methodical support is offered by the institute to optimise these processes.

In terms of safety and performance of rail traffic, the human being is of major importance, so Rail Human Factors is a further topic of research for the institute.

Rail Technology

The specification of the consistent European Train Control System ETCS and its development until operability are the technical foundations for a Europe-wide harmonising of control- and security technology. The institute handles technical and operational aspects of ETCS. The development of flexible methods for the finding of conformity and interoperability and the running of the according tests form the focal point. For reasons of optimisation, the whole test progress – from the generation of the test case, to the running of the tests, to the evaluation of the results – is supposed to become as automated as possible.