Xiaolu Rao
Senior system engineer and railway researcher at Systransis Ltd

Presentation title:
The integration of traffic management and train automation

For the current mainline railway, there are two focuses for traffic optimisation. The first is to improve the efficiency of traffic management by providing conflict resolutions, while the second is to improve train driving behavior by providing driver assistance or introducing train automation.

This presentation proposes combining the optimisation methods of traffic management and train automation into an integrated optimisation model. In the function of traffic management, dr. Rao explores the flexibility in generating different train running trajectories to prevent potential traffic conflicts. The trajectory can improve traffic flow by avoiding unplanned train stops. This is regarded as a supplementary conflict resolution to train reordering or rerouting or retiming. For the function of train automation, she defines a series of train control commands to determine different intensities of the train’s tractive force and braking force. The commands are seen as the key to train automation. A decision-making procedure is introduced to select the most attractive output according to different optimisation objectives. Besides, the importance of bidirectional communication between traffic management and train automation is highlighted based on a case study. Lastly, dr. Rao will give a short discussion about remaining questions and further steps for implementing train automation on mainline railway.

Speaker biography:
Dr. Xiaolu Rao started to work on her PhD research since 2011 and completed her doctoral study at ETH Zurich in June 2015. She spent most of her research time at the company Systransis Ltd (100% owned by Siemens Switzerland Ltd) as a doctoral student. Her PhD thesis “Holistic rail network operation by integration of train automation and traffic management” has won the ETH Medal for outstanding PhD thesis. She proposes a new rail optimisation model by integration of two optimisation methods: traffic management and train automation.  Currently, she is a senior system engineer and railway researcher working at Systransis Ltd in Switzerland.

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