Transport undertakings must, like all other commercial concerns, be organized in such a way that demand is met at minimum production cost by providing a service of quality. However, as they are public service undertakings in which the customer is directly involved in the production process, they must take special and more extensive measures to eliminate the element of risk in the transport process. This objective can be pursued by taking measures in the following spheres: (1) increase in reliability; (2) technical monitoring of failures; and (3) technical automation. In all, it can be stated that the quality of the solution to the task of safeguarding increases with the degree of automation applied to the safety system. The conditions for the safeguarding of transport processes merely serve to determine certain inviolate limits to the possibilities of movement in a transport network. There still remains a wide margin within which the actual optimization of production, i.e., the most profitable adaptation of the offered services to the demand, must be achieved. In solving the task of optimization, it is obviously necessary to select from among a multiplicity of possible solutions the one which meets a given criterion in the best possible way. It follows that the prospective results of a number of alternative decision options must be compared with each other. Depending on the nature of the task and on the speed at which a decision must be arrived at, the human brain can only deal with a very limited number of alternatives; on the other hand, relying on his knowledge of basic inter-relations and on his experience, the human decision-maker is able to eliminate from the outset a number of theoretically conceivable variants as being unsuitable. In contrast, electronic data processing plants are able to simulate in advance, at an extremely rapid speed, the consequences of certain decisions; but, especially in the case of transport optimization problems, the number of possible alternative decisions is so great that a sufficiently prompt decision cannot be obtained even with the aid of computers of the highest known capacity. While, in regard to the safeguarding of transport processes, it was possible to state that the basic task could best be solved by applying the highest possible degree of automation, it cannot be expected that the human operator can be completely replaced by the machine in the sphere of transport optimization.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Railroad Cybernetics, AAR/UIC/IRCA, 21-26 April 1974, Washington, D.C. This paper was also published in the October 1973 issue of Rail International, which is available from E.S.L.
  • Corporate Authors:

    International Union of Railways

    14 rue Jean Rey
    75015 Paris,   France 
  • Authors:
    • Pierick, K
  • Publication Date: 1974-4

Media Info

  • Pagination: 5 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00053823
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: International Union of Railways
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Paper
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 17 1976 12:00AM