openETCS is a project, not an organisation. The goal of the project is an “Open Proof” for the European Train Control System.
Europe’s railways have developed over the last 150 years within national boundaries, resulting in a variety of different signalling and train control systems, which hampers cross-border traffic. The European Union has decided to improve interoperability for the
railway sector. Therefore the European Train Control System (ETCS) as part of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is
intended to replace almost all national legacy mainline signalling and train control systems all across Europe. ETCS consists of
infrastructure components and on-board units (OBU). A System Requirement Specification (SRS, actual Version: 2.3.0d) has been
cooperatively created mainly by 6 major European railway signalling manufacturers. Those firms have formed an association, called
UNISIG to manage and coordinate these activities in close cooperation with the EU Commission and the bodies of railway operators.
Beginning with the 3rd version of the SRS, this document has been published by the European Railway Agency (ERA), therefore in the
“public domain” and will be mandatory by 2015 for all new infrastructure and train borne signalling and train control equipment.
Especially for the on-board part of the ETCS equipment the degree of functional complexity to be implemented has turned out to be
significantly higher than in conventional signalling and train control systems, thus resulting in significant cost increases for
software development, homologation and maintenance. This has caused a cost level for the operators, which is by a factor of 3 to 10
times higher compared with conventional national onboard systems at the same overall performance level.
The Goals and major expected outcomes
The purpose of the openETCS project is to develop an integrated modelling, development, validation and testing framework for
leveraging the cost-efficient and reliable implementation of ETCS. The framework will provide a holistic tool chain across the
whole development process of ETCS software. The tool chain will support the formal specification and verification of the ETCS
system requirements, the automatic and ETCS compliant code generation and validation, and the model-based test case generation
and execution. openETCS will utilize “Open Standards” on all levels, including hardware and software specification, interface
definition, design tools, verification and validation procedures and last but not least embedded control software. By applying
those technologies and related business concepts a significant cost cut for the final onboard product is expected down to or even
below conventional high performance cab signalling systems (e.g. LZB Linien-Zug-Beeinflussung, as used in Germany, Austria and
Spain). The open source concept provides for a neutral and formal method based “correct” functioning reference device that will
help to overcome existing interoperability problems, supporting manufacturers, infrastructure managers and railway undertakings
alike, avoiding exhaustive field tests, transferring verification and validation activities from the track site into laboratories,
saving scarce resources and finally accelerating the migration phase and therefore supporting the European ERTMS deployment plan.