Measurement Data-Driven Life-Cycle Management of Railway Track

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Track engineers face increasing cost pressure and budget restrictions in their work today. This leads to growing difficulty in legitimizing crucial maintenance and renewal measures. As a result, infrastructure managers must ensure they invest all available financial resources as sustainably and efficiently as possible. These boundary conditions require an objective tool enabling both a component-specific condition evaluation and preventive maintenance with renewal planning. The present research introduces such a tool for railway tracks based on innovative track data analyses. This tool includes time-series analyses for predicting future quality behavior. Consequently, the technical necessity of maintenance actions can be derived for every specific track section. In addition, these technical evaluations are combined with economic and operational considerations to plan reasonable maintenance lengths for different track components in the next few years. In a further step, business evaluations by means of annuity monitoring are executed to determine whether ongoing track maintenance or complete track renewal is the most economical solution. This methodology also allows calculating the economic damage caused by neglecting the ideal point in time for reinvestment. On the basis of this economic damage, it is possible to rank projects by priority in the case of insufficient budgets and to ensure that all available resources are invested in the most reasonable manner possible. Furthermore, such analyses clearly show that when a specific degradation level of railway track is reached track renewal is more economic in relation to life-cycle costs than ongoing maintenance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-696
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems

Cite this