ROCC and Role: Implementation of operational control centres for resilience

Author: Victor Abbott
Day: Aspect Day Two
Session: Design Resilience

Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties and
situations that don’t go to plan. Railways are a complex and
complicated business. Customers demand improved performance
and value-for-money whilst rail operators strive for business
excellence but often struggle for fiscal prudency.Running a
railway to plan without incident or interruption, achieving
customer satisfaction and business success are the major goals
for rail operators. An effective Rail Operations Control Centre
(ROCC) is the ‘heart and mind’ of rail operations that can meet
those goals.This paper examines the role of the ROCC to achieve
resiliency of the railway. Resiliency is considered two-fold:- Firstly,
the ability of ROCC to contribute to the overarching resiliency of
rail operations based on a set of implementation criteria.
Secondly, the ROCC itself being resilient to perform its function
under changing circumstances.Railway operations is the task to
provide a safe, efficient, available, punctual, and effective
transportation service to customers. Railway operations involves
planning & scheduling (long and short term); day of operations
delivery (including live run to schedule and perturbation
management); incident and emergency response; and supporting
functions (such as administrative, financial, procurement, human
resource and asset management).The ROCC is a facility of people,
processes and technology to deliver the operations plan. It is
usually the pivotal point and primary command and control hub to
manage operations in a modern railway. The ROCC provides
supervisory, monitoring, dispatching, control, and operational
safety management. It is usually concentrated in a few locations,
often in a dedicated building and usually contains a main control
room for day-of-operations control purposes. It is often a showpiece
for the railway operator.To achieve a resilient railway
operation, an effective ROCC where the people, processes and
technology are brought together in a combined, cohesive, and
coordinated manner can improve delivery and optimise the
operations plan. The steps to implement a successful ROCC
include stating the key benefits of the ROCC; establishing the key
functions of the ROCC with respect the railway operation tasks;
determining the ROCC key implementation criteria (i.e. time
horizon, hierarchy of control, geographical and asset coverage,
systems functional span, degree of centralization, and degree of
integration with other systems); and determining staff roles and
responsibilities and resultant operating modes. Whilst the ROCC
can support a resilient railway operation, the ROCC itself must be
resilient to provide its function, to be available to provide an
accepted level of operational normalcy and to cope with threats
and vulnerabilities. In this regard, the design of the ROCC is as
important as the operational service it provides. Considering
resilient control systems requirements, the design of a ROCC
should consider the reliability, availability, maintainability, and
safety of the rail systems deployed in the ROCC; the control room
layout and arrangements including human factors; threat and
vulnerability assessment including identifying the need for
redundancy and back-up facilities; security; access; EMC; noise
and vibration and future expansion requirements.Considering the
above resiliency criteria can allow rail operations to ROCC and
role.