The System (of Interest) Definitions phase: Key features and challenges in the Dutch Railway system

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As systems continue to grow in interconnectedness and complexity, System Integration has become increasingly more difficult. The significance of a System Definition phase, describing a system in increasing level of detail, to facilitate integration (avoid or anticipate issues in advance) is clear from literature. However, what this should specifically entail, varies. Moreover, the term 'system' as commonly used, does not correspond to a specific level of granulation or complexity. Therefore, focusing on a System of Interest is a prerequisite. The purpose of this paper is to first identify key features from literature which should be included in a System Definition phase. Secondly, in order to identify what hinders effective integration from industrial perspective and, determine how this can be related to the identified System Definition features, a case study has been carried out within the Dutch railway system. By interviews and qualitative data analysis, numerous integration issues were identified. From the case study, several features were identified which require appropriate attention to facilitate effective integration. In addition, the case study revealed features, which were not obtained from literature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE 15th International Conference of System of Systems Engineering (SoSE)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-8050-2, 978-1-7281-8049-6, 978-1-7281-8051-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-8050-2, 978-1-7281-8049-6, 978-1-7281-8051-9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • Complex Systems
  • Integration
  • Railways
  • Stakeholders
  • System Definition
  • System of Interest

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