Keeping railway infrastructure resilience on track

Keeping railway infrastructure resilience on track

The European funded research project SAFETY4RAILS has focused on increasing the safety and recovery of track-based inter-city railway and intra-city metro transportation from cyber and/or physical attacks.

Since the project commenced in 2020, major global events such as COVID-19, the impact of climate change and the war in Ukraine have changed our mobility patterns and made us rethink how we manage our mass transit infrastructure systems.

They have reinforced the need for more resilient and future-proofed infrastructure, according to RMIT academics involved in the project. 

"For example, when it comes to the impact of climate change, our attention is being shifted to the effectiveness and resilience of our response actions," said Dr Nader Naderpajouh from the University of Sydney and RMIT University. 

"Railway infrastructure plays a major role as a response action to the climate crisis, but it’s also a system prone to degradation and disruption," he said. 

"Disasters such as floods, fires, or sea-level rise can impact railway infrastructure and require a change in asset management regimes.

"Such consequences can be made even worse through deliberate adversaries such as cyber-attacks." 


29 September 2022


Naderpajouh, who is part of the RMIT team on SAFETY4RAILS along with RMIT Europe's Mohsen Moshrefzadeh, said we must continue to ask ourselves whether our current railway infrastructure systems are resilient enough to cope with such events, and prepare accordingly.

“One way we can do that is by collecting, maintaining and monitoring data on our infrastructure using the tools brought together through SAFETY4RAILS,” he said. 

One such tool used in the project has been the knowledge behind RMIT’s Central Asset Management System (CAMS) technology.

Naderpajouh said the focus for railway operators and researchers should be on improvement and standardisation of data collection; improving system integration among the tools to collect such data; as well as connecting these tools to organisational and managerial practices within the railway operators. 

“We should look at the models developed through the project and explore where are the data collection gaps and how the data collection strategies can be revised for continuous improvement and enhancement,” he said. 

“A model is only as good as the quality of the data it collects and the rigour around the data collection process.

“Addressing such issues ensures the effective translation of research into practice through projects such as SAFETY4RAILS."

The SAFETY4RAILS final conference was held in Paris at the International Union of Railways (UIC) Headquarters on 28 September 2022.

Story: Karen Matthews

EU funding acknowlegment
29 September 2022


  • RMIT Europe

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.