Tuesday 21 March 2017

Results from 3rd edition of the UIC Global Rail Research & Innovation Awards

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Rail transport faces huge present and future challenges for which innovation and step changes are necessary. As UIC’s overall mission is to promote an increased use of rail transport at world level and to help members to make rail transport more attractive, effective, sustainable and economically viable, the General Assemblies have brought their strong support to the ambitious programme of UIC’s International Railway Research Board (IRRB), as well as its initiative to set up the UIC Rail Research & Innovation Awards. The 3rd edition of the Awards concluded with the organisation of the Award ceremony held in St Petersburg in Russia on 1 December 2016.

Through these Awards, the UIC aims to support and promote:

  • The development of theoretical, experimental and applied research in railway transport
  • The development process of international cooperation in this field
  • The promotion and attraction of leading experts from different countries, research institutes, universities, railway operators, infrastructure managers, railway suppliers, passenger transport organizations, governmental bodies in charge of transport and individual researches to address the most important problems and challenges of modern railways
  • The global recognition of role of single researchers and research groups in order to establish rail as the sustainable backbone of the transportation system which is cost-efficient, reliable, safe and secure and therefore will become the mode of choice for passengers and freight forwarders

As well as to:

  • Support and encourage gifted young researchers, stimulate their research work in the sphere of railway transport, prepare a new generation of researchers, lay the foundations for future innovative development of railway transport and attract young researchers in the sphere of railway transport as well as to support the creation of favorable conditions for scientific discoveries and innovative achievements involving young researchers
  • Honour those people who have spent their lifetime trying to innovate and improve the railway system and its services – the Lifetime Achievement Award

Following the previous articles in the series of 2016 Awards we now present you with some information on Mr. Jun Izawa, the UIC Global Rail Research & Innovation Awards winner in the category Safety & Security and his development of the earthquake disaster simulator for railways against mega-scale earthquakes.

Jun IZAWA, Dr. Eng. (izawa@rtri.or.jp) has been a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Railway Earthquake Engineering Research, Railway Technical Research Institute since 2010. He studied at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (2002-2010). He worked on this research project together with Kimitoshi SAKAI, Dr. Eng., Assistant Senior Researcher, Kohei TANAKA, Dr. Eng., Assistant Senior Researcher, and the Director of the Centre for Railway Earthquake Engineering Research, Railway Technical Research Institute Mr. Yoshitaka MURONO, Dr. Eng. Who has worked at RTRI since 1993.

Railway systems are composed of many structures continuously stretching over a long distance and their entire functions might stop even if only a limited part of the structures are damaged by an earthquake. It is, therefore, important to identify hazardous areas among the entire railway, plan strategies for seismic countermeasures, and implement them to minimise possible damage caused by an earthquake. As it is effective, for this purpose, to predict possible damage using computer simulation, we have developed an earthquake disaster simulator for railways against earthquakes. The simulator can evaluate non-linear response of surface ground and serious damage to structures caused by a mega-scale earthquake. However, this simulation needs a vast amount of analysis models and it is impossible to develop all of them manually. We then built data archives for faults, ground and structures, and developed modelling tools to construct analysis models automatically using the archive data.

These tools have made it possible to conduct earthquake disaster simulations of railway lines stretching over several hundred kilometres. We have also developed a visualisation tool, which displays obtained results on Geographic Information System and creates images of damaged structures so that non-experts can understand possible risks in earthquakes.

The simulator has already been used to make seismic hazard maps showing possible seismic intensity and liquefaction potential for some railway companies. In the future, the simulator can help decision-making in providing sufficient seismic performance to newly-constructed and existing railways in seismically active areas in the world.

Part of this research was supported by subsidies from Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

For more information on this innovation, please contact Mr Jun Izawa:


For more information about the UIC – International Rail Research Board – IRRB and the UIC Global Research & Innovation Awards, please contact Dennis Schut:

You can also visit www.railway-research.org

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Mr Jun Izawa, UIC Global Rail Research & Innovation Awards winner in the category Safety & Security