Assessment of architectures for Automatic Train Operation driving functions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, organisation - regulation, planning - marketing/promotion, planning - standards, technology - intelligent transport systems


Automatic Train Operation, Connected Driver Advisory System, Train Path Envelope, Train trajectory generation, ATO-over-ETCS, SWOT


Automatic Train Operation (ATO) is well-known in urban railways and gets increasing interest from mainline railways at present to improve capacity and punctuality. A main function of ATO is the train trajectory generation that specifies the speed profile over the given running route considering the timetable and the characteristics of the train and infrastructure. This paper proposes and assesses different possible ATO architecture configurations through allocating the intelligent components on the trackside or onboard. The set of analyzed ATO architecture configurations is based on state-of-the-art architectures proposed in the literature for the related Connected Driver Advisory System (C-DAS). Results of the SWOT analysis highlight that different ATO configurations have diverse advantages or limitations, depending on the type of railway governance and the technological development of the existing railway signaling and communication equipment. In addition, we also use the results to spotlight operational, technological, and business advantages/limitations of the proposed ATO-over-ETCS architecture that is being developed by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) and provide a scientific argumentation for it.


Permission to publish abstract under open access.


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