CWI and Prorail predict railway incidents

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica and ProRail recently started a research collaboration in the area of the handling of incidents at the Dutch railways. It concerns a public private partnership between CWI and ProRail striking up a four year period.

The research is aimed at prevention and handling of a broad spectrum of railway incidents, like disturbance of the railway infrastructure, people walking on the tracks and collisions. ProRail focuses on the prevention of incidents and rapid availability after incidents. ProRail wants to prohibit unnecessary train delays or dropping out due to disturbances. ProRail would like to improve their service by using the expertise of the Networks and Optimization and Stochastics groups in the area of mathematical modelling, optimization and analysis.

Researchers of CWI will make predictions about the time and place of future incidents, so that ProRail can respond to possible incidents and try to prevent them from happening. Besides that, CWI researchers will analyse which adjustments have to be made personnel and resource wise in order to establish an improvement of performance of preventing and handling incidents. They will use data about earlier incidents as well as geographical and demographical data. 

The Stochastics group at CWI has broad experience in predicting incidents. They developed algorithms that optimize the availability of ambulances in a specific region so that they can get to an emergency faster. Spin off company Stokhos emerged from this research project. Stokhos provides software solutions for proactive relocation of emergency services based on future expectations. 

Project leader Rob van der Mei is very pleased with this new project: ”the ProRail project builds on the work we performed in earlier projects like predicting incidents where ambulances are needed of high impact crimes like street robberies and break-ins in cooperation with the Amsterdam/Amstelland police. We can use our knowledge and experience in this area to help ProRail and eventually the train passenger further."

Stochastics group video