German Centre for Rail Traffic Research at the Federal Railway Authority

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Topic: publication, publication from: 2019.02.26

Consideration of software development in the railway sector (Abstract; EN)

EBA research report 2019-01, February 2019, 6 pages, PDF, approx. 0.05 MB

Consideration of software development in the railway sector (Abstract)

Software is embedded in technical and organizational systems to an ever-increasing extent and is increasingly taking over safety-critical tasks. At the same time, the pressure for innovation in the (European) railway industry is great, among other things because of the great and (still) increasing international competition and requires the consideration of optimization potential also in the area of software development.

The present study takes up this question and describes the current trends and challenges that software development in the railway sector will have to face in the coming years. Future product structures, standards, methods and processes as well as training issues are addressed. Based on an analysis of the trends in the neighbouring domains automotive industry, avionics, telecommunications and industrial automation, proposals for the railway sector are developed. These will be concretised using two examples: The integration of RBC and STW, and the integration of OBU and TCMS. The results can be summarized as follows (see also section 1.3):

  • The digitalisation of rail-bound transport will continue to increase. Rail technology can benefit from many developments in other areas, which should be carefully monitored.
  • The splitting of safety standards for software development according to the different application domains cannot always be justified in terms of content. It should be examined whether certifications from other technical domains should increasingly be considered for railway engineering applications.
  • Model-based development requires a conscious decision for the appropriate modelling language.
  • Safety-oriented systems can also be developed with agile methods, provided that the appropriate granularity is achieved.
  • Functional security and IT security must be dealt with together; the technologies for IT security in data transmission and data storage are available in principle, but are not yet fully established in the railway industry.
  • In railway technology, there is a growing demand for IT specialists and system engineers, especially with knowledge and skills in testing.