Fibre Optic Sensing as Innovative Tool for Evaluating Railway Track Condition?

Ivan Vidovic, Matthias Landgraf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


The condition and deterioration of a railway track over time has a major influence on its maintenance demands, service life and consequently its life cycle costs. Railway track condition is currently assessed on the basis of manual inspections, wayside equipment and measurements performed by a measurement car. This paper deals with combining the advantages of above assessment technologies, allowing continuous and permanent measurements for the entire network. On the one hand, we use Distributed Acoustic Sensing, a methodology relying on the effect of Rayleigh backscattering. This technology uses fibre optic cables, which are already installed in cable troughs alongside railway tracks and used for telecommunication or signalling. On the other hand, fractal analysis of vertical track geometry allows for a component-specific condition evaluation, i.e. distinguishing the root cause of an irregularity in track geometry. Correlating both methodologies should show whether or not/to what and to what extent this innovative methodology of using fibre optic cables is applicable for assessing the component specific condition of a railway track. The proposed combination of both methodologies paves the way for real time condition assessment of railway track.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Smart Infrastructure and Construction 2019 (ICSIC)
Subtitle of host publicationDriving data-informed decision-making
EditorsMJ DeJong, JM Schooling, GMB Viggiani
Place of Publication One Great George Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3A
PublisherICE Publishing
ChapterAsset Management
Number of pages114
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-7277-6467-6
ISBN (Print)9780727764669
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2019
EventInternational Conference on Smart Infrastructure and Construction 2019 - Churchill College , Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jul 201910 Jul 2019


ConferenceInternational Conference on Smart Infrastructure and Construction 2019
Abbreviated titleICSIC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Fibre optic sensing
  • Railway infrastructure monitoring
  • Fractal Analyses
  • Distributed acoustic sensing
  • Track behavior
  • Life Cycle Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems


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