Analyzing Major Track Quality Indices and Introducing a Universally Applicable TQI

Stefan Offenbacher*, Johannes Neuhold, Peter Veit, Matthias Landgraf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adequate railway track condition is a prerequisite for safe and reliable railway operation. Many track quality indices (TQIs) have been developed with the aim of assessing the track condition holistically. These indices combine measurement signals of some or all relevant geometry parameters with different mathematical models. In this paper, a selection of important TQIs is evaluated. Using measurement data of a five kilometer track section, the indices are calculated and their properties are discussed. This study reveals that all indices exhibit drawbacks to varying degrees. As a consequence, a new index has been developed—the track quality index of Graz University of Technology (TUG_TQI). Its favorable characteristics are presented by means of the above-mentioned test section. The TUG_TQI combines all relevant track geometry parameters, which are normalized beforehand to eliminate over or underrepresentation of different parameters. Thus, the index reliably describes the overall geometrical track quality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8490
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Railway infrastructure
  • Track ballast
  • Ballast condition
  • Tamping machine
  • Tamping unit sensors
  • Condition monitoring
  • Track quality
  • Quality index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Engineering(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems
  • Mobility & Production


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