DFT modeling approach for operational risk assessment of railway infrastructure

Norman Weik*, Matthias Volk, Joost Pieter Katoen, Nils Nießen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Reliability engineering of railway infrastructure aims to understand failure processes and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investments and maintenance planning such that a high quality of service is achieved. While formal methods are widely used to verify the design specifications of safety-critical components in train control, quantitative methods to analyze the service reliability associated with specific system designs are only starting to emerge. In this paper, we strive to advance the use of formal fault-tree modeling for providing a quantitative assessment of the railway infrastructure’s service reliability in the design phase. While, individually, most subsystems required for route-setting and train control are well understood, the system’s reliability to globally provide its designated service capacity is less studied. To this end, we present a framework based on dynamic fault trees that allows to analyze train routability based on train paths projected in the interlocking system. We particularly focus on the dependency of train paths on track-based assets such as switches and crossings, which are particularly prone to failures due to their being subject to weather and heavy wear. By using probabilistic model checking to analyze and verify the reliability of feasible route sets for scheduled train lines, performance metrics for reliability analysis of the system as a whole as well as criticality analysis of individual (sub-)components become available. The approach, which has been previously discussed in our paper at FMICS 2019, is further refined, and additional algorithmic approaches, analysis settings and application scenarios in infrastructure and maintenance planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-350
Number of pages20
JournalInternational journal on software tools for technology transfer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2022


  • Dynamic fault trees
  • Railway infrastructure
  • Railways
  • Risk assessment
  • Routability


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