Testing Algorithms for a Passenger Train Braking Performance Model
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Testing Algorithms for a Passenger Train Braking Performance Model

  • 2011-09-01

Filetype[PDF-278.41 KB]



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  • Abstract:
    The Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Research and Development funded a project to establish performance model to develop, analyze, and test positive train control (PTC) braking algorithms for passenger train operations. With a good braking algorithm to predict accurate stopping distances from PTC system enforcement, railroad operational efficiency will not be degraded. Previously, researchers used computer simulations supplemented with limited field testing track to find an approach to evaluate PTC braking enforcement algorithms for freight train operations. This approach has shown the potential to drastically reduce development time and costs for the freight sector. It also facilitates use of a greater variety of enforcement scenarios to be tested. A similar approach is envisioned for use in the development and evaluation of PTC braking enforcement algorithms for passenger trains. As was shown in related freight train system testing, an adequately detailed model of the braking system is essential to ensure that the goals of PTC can be met and that required safety levels can be achieved. It is noted that simulation software capable of modeling braking performance for passenger trains, including sufficient detail of the characteristics of the air brake systems and the effects of varying wheel-rail adhesion conditions, is not yet available. The first phase of work focused on three specific tasks: (1) developing the requirements for the passenger air brake control valve and associated model components; (2) surveying passenger and commuter agencies in the United States to determine what brake system hardware they currently use; and (3) establishing a plan to develop the brake system model components and passenger train brake model. Given the urgency of implementing PTC within mandated deadlines (2012 in California and 2015 elsewhere), the Transportation Technology Center, Inc., was also tasked with evaluating whether an empirical model could be developed and ready to use in less time than the development of a more detailed, scientifically pure model. Output from this effort includes a requirements specification document for design of a passenger train braking performance model. The report also includes a summary of the survey of passenger operators on braking hardware currently in use. One conclusion of the project is that a stand-alone model focused on passenger braking systems would be the best and most easily available tool for industry use. A list of proposed steps of how to move the effort forward was also submitted.
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