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RSSB - Research and Development - The (UK) Railway Functional Architecture (RFA)

by Nic Plum on Thursday 23 December, 2010 - 22:57 GMT

Posted in Architecture FrameworkTRAKNews

Tags: researchrssbseastrategytraktsaguk

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Research streams are managed by the RSSB on behalf of the UK Technical Strategy Advisory Group (TSAG). An idea of the context for both organisations is provided within the demonstration architecture description on this site.

From the UK Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) - Research & Development e-Newsletter - Issue. 66 October 2010.

Research in Progress. T912 The Railway Functional Architecture

The Railway Functional Architecture (RFA) research project was commissioned by RSSB on behalf of the Technical Strategy Advisory Group (TSAG). It is intended to identify, at a fairly high level of abstraction, the technology-based functions that must be performed for a modern railway to operate.

The output of this work will be a model that builds on the rail architecture framework (TRAK), which was developed for generic use within the rail industry. In early 2011 we will publish the RFA on the RSSB/TSAG website. A master copy will be retained by RSSB in an enterprise architect project file (.EAP) to be made available on request for organisations that want to manipulate or further develop the model.

An architectural framework (ie TRAK) was used to ensure the creation of a model that is well structured and governed by documented rules, so that it could be maintained and extended without undue effort. Architecture frameworks are commonly used in information technology and information system governance. Because, like the railway, these disciplines are so broad and because the enterprises in which they are engaged can be large and complex, the models associated with the discipline also tend to be large and complex.

The RFA has been subject to iterative improvements as a consequence of discussions both with individual industry experts and with stakeholders in workshop sessions. We acknowledge the input of the following organisations: ATOC, Network Rail, Birmingham University Centre for Rail Research, RFG, LUL, DfT, RIA, Transport Scotland, Crossrail.

The work may aid in: identifying where commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and ‘plug and play’ technologies may be employed; where ‘open systems’ architectures and ‘lean’ systems may be introduced; eliminating systems which duplicate functions; and shortening product development cycles by putting a standard architecture in place. Several other uses have become apparent as the model has been developed and those will be described in more detail when the finished product is published.

An overview of this work was presented at the INCOSE UK Annual Systems Engineering Conference (ASEC) 2010 by Andy Prior (Systems Engineering and Assessment Ltd.)

Work is underway to investigate the feasibility of releasing the architecture description for the railway functional architecture as open source in early 2011.

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