School of Engineering researchers develop solutions for railroads

Project “Railway 4.0” aims to develop innovative solutions for the railway market

The Institute for Sustainability and Innovation in Structural Engineering (ISISE) of the School of Engineering is part of the project “Railway 4.0”, which aims to develop different components, tools and systems, to be tested in real vehicles and infrastructures, which increase the competitiveness and quality of rail transport service and are oriented to the sustainability of the railway system, the reduction of operating and maintenance costs, the enhancement of reliable information systems to support decision-making in asset management and traffic safety.

The project brings together 22 business entities and the R&D system, which are part of the Portuguese Railway Platform Cluster and operate in the railway sector in Portugal, thus expecting a rapid integration of the products/systems developed in the Portuguese railroad.

The incorporation of new products and tools will have a direct impact on improving the quality of rail transport service in Portugal. “For example, the development of new materials/solutions for carriage interiors will contribute to increasing the acoustic comfort of the end user. Also the introduction of active safety systems and their centralized integration, such as the automated identification of objects on the track, will reduce delays, accidents and maintenance/repair times”, reveals José Campos e Matos, ISISE’s researcher.

ISISE’s main work involves the design of methodologies and practices to increase the resilience of critical infrastructures, and also the research, development and demonstration of sustainable solutions for rail transport in terms of energy and environment with a view to increasing the efficiency of the railway system, reducing the ecological footprint and the costs of components, increasing their life cycle. “More specifically, we will contribute to the development of a set of subsystems/products that in themselves, and together, contribute to an energy efficiency management system for the railway system,” adds the researcher.

The project involves an investment of around eight million euros, started at the end of 2020 and has a completion date scheduled for June 2023. It is co-financed by Compete 2020, Lisbon 2020, Portugal 2020 and the European Union (European Structural and Investment Funds). The School of Engineering team is composed by the researchers José Campos e Matos, Paulo Lourenço, Daniel Oliveira, Jorge Branco, Hélder Sousa, Joaquim Tinoco, Madalena Araújo and Paula Ferreira.