Shift2Rail logo A body of the European Union

Advanced Traffic Management And Control Systems

IP Coordinator:Antonella Trombetta - HITACHI RAIL STS


Total Project Value:
€ 349 926,25
from 01/01/2021 to 31/12/2022
S2R (Of H2020) co-funding:
€ 349 926,25
Franco Mazzenga
Complementary projects:
Project website:


The AB4Rail project contributes to the work programme S2R-OC-IP2-02-2020 objectives by identifying alternative communication bearers (ABs) and communication protocols. The first study in AB4Rail will review the state of art of the considered alternative bearers to select the most promising ones for the Adaptable Communication System (ACS) technical demonstrator TD 2.1. The second study will investigate the optimal/best usage of the current and future communication protocols at application and transport levels for the ACS architecture.

AB4Rail will be targeting an improvement of the ACS performance leveraging on the relevant background of Radiolabs to:

1.  Manage multi communication bearers and heterogeneous connection link (bearer independence concept) to guarantee the best performance of a single (multiple) specific rail application(s), by complementing communication bearers, already taken into account in the Shift2Rail (X2Rail 1-2) projects;

2.  Adopt a top-down approach for developing and managing rail applications in an end-to-end way to guarantee appropriate levels of Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE).

In that way the ACS open platform can be enriched by adding additional bearers with mature technologies, to complement the traditional communication bearers (Workstream 1) and Transport and Application protocols optimised for rail applications (Workstream 2).

Alternative bearers (Workstream 1)

  •  To identify, assess, analyse and describe alternative communication bearers (ABs) for the rail environment, from a technology perspective, in addition and beyond established radio technologies such as UMTS/HSPA, LTE, LTE-A, WiFi/802.11, geostationary satellites;
  • To study Optics (Visible Light Communication (VLC), Free Space Optics (FSO)), Power Line Communications (PLC), Internet of Things (IoT) (Short Range, i.e. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Zigbee, 6LoWPAN), IoT (Long Range, i.e. Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) e.g. LoRa, NB-IoT), High Altitude Platform System (HAPS), Update technologies (Novel Sat LEO constellations), Future technologies (Quantum communications, THz communications) as alternative communication bearers suitable for the rail infrastructure and the equipment alongside the railway tracks;
  • To select the most promising alternative bearers technologies to be integrated into the ACS by providing a recommendation or classification of ABs related to certain railway environments in terms of technology and business case development;
  • To compare the expected communication characteristics of each AB with well-established wireless technologies of Traditional Bearers (TBs);
  • To use its emulators/simulators, laboratories and facilities for on field test to verify the performance. 

Communication protocols (Workstream 2)
  • To identify the appropriate transport protocol for ensuring communication characteristics and capabilities during application development;
  • To study the interworking between Internet Protocol v4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6);
  • To analyse options for transport layer and the application layer protocols for specific rail applications;
  • To analyse the security of transport and application layer using secure version of application protocols;
  • To conduct IP-based emulation/simulation to support the protocol investigation activities.

Results and Publications

AB4RAIL Newsletter Year 1


D2.1 Technologies for ABs


D2.2 Assessment of ABs benefits_ challenges and impact on infrastructure with RAT Tool


D2.3 Assessment and Classification for ABs and AB-TB comparison


D2.4 Experimental assessment of the most promising ABs


D3.1 Review of ACS, of existing transport protocols, application protocols, railway applications


D3.2 Analysis of IPv4/IPv6


D3.4 Identification of Transport Protocol for railway applications


D3.5 Analysis of options for transport and application protocols and of their secure versions


D4.3 Report on Dissemination and Exploitation activities


All deliverables, results and publications herewith provided reflects only the author's view and the S2R JU is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No: 101014517