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Train delays cut - by a single piece of software

Any chance they could use this Arrival software in Ireland? Yes, actually.

Heuston Station has seen its fair share of delays - but they could be at an end if new European software is as good as the European Commission says.
Image: Informatique via Flickr

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has hailed a piece of software that has helped some countries cut train delays – and says it wants it introduced all over Europe.

The Arrival software – to which the EU made a €2.6m contribution – has helped some of Europe’s biggest cities, such as Berlin, cut waiting times for their rail services to just two minutes.

The software works by manipulating complex algorithms to draw up new rail timetables based on fleet capacity and consumer demand at certain points at different times of the day.

Its fundamental principal is the attempt to minimise any domino effects caused by traffic disruption.

The software led the Dutch rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen to rewrite its entire rail timetable, and cut the time between trains on Berlin’s U-Bahn to as little as 90 seconds.

Indeed, the software is so advanced that it even computes, in real-time, the most efficient way to allocate trains based on a disruption as it happens – and even which platforms should be used for certain trains.

The software has been so successful in some of Europe’s major transport hubs that the European Commission wants it to be used in every EU member state, including Ireland.

The Commission also wants member states to investigate whether the fundamental technologies can be used to streamline bus services and traffic management.

Arrival was written as a collaborative project between researchers from 12 European universities with input from the French national rail operator, SNCF.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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