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OUR AGENDA

Find out more about what happened at SafeRail 2017 and take a look at our full agenda...

  Day 1
8:00am Registration
9:00am Welcoming address
  Room 1
  C-level plenary: Balancing safety with business continuity
The PTC deadline is on the horizon; with human error being responsible for the majority of rail accidents, installing this safety-critical system is more important now than ever. Railroad executives need to take responsibility for making sure their networks are as safe as possible, from installing and upgrading train control systems to ensuring maintenance programs are in place and followed. This session will bring together C-level speakers from governments, freight railroads, and transit agencies to discuss the biggest priorities for improving the safety of American railroads.

• What is the current state of safety in US rail transportation?
• What’s next after PTC?
• Determining ROI for investing in new safety technologies: do the returns outweigh the risks?
• Innovative financing models for rail safety projects
9:10am Opening keynote session: PTC: Where do we go from here? 
9:25am Sourcing investment for safety technology: alternatives to federal funds
9:40am Maintaining the economic viability of rail while making safety the top priority
9:55am Keeping rail moving in a safe and secure manner
10:10am Ask the Leaders: Your chance to interact with our C-level panel and pose your questions on our interactive Q&A system. Delegates can vote for their favourite questions and get unparalleled industry insight.

• What should rail’s priorities be in order to increase safety?
• What is the current state of safety in North American rail transportation?
• Sources of funding and investment
• Enhancing safety while maintaining the economic viability of rail
• Simultaneously enhancing both safety and efficiency
10:40am Morning networking and coffee break

  Room 1
  PREPARING FOR THE FINAL STAGES OF INSTALLING NEW TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEMS
Train control systems such as PTC and CBTC are vital to preventing derailments and accidents; the deadline for PTC installation is fast approaching and it is essential railroads meet this in order to avoid major, fatal disasters. With only six months to go until the December 31st deadline, this session will look at project management in the final stages of PTC installation, looking at challenges around testing, installation and industry collaboration, and how these can be overcome in order to ensure the deadline is met.
11:25am Sourcing funding for the implementation of new signalling systems
• The business case for upgrading signalling systems
• Alternative funding sources such as public-private partnerships
• Maximising federal funds
11:40am Positive train control: what standards and frameworks are needed?
• What core functionalities should PTC systems have?
• What standards are needed to make PTC interoperability easier?
• Reducing and streamlining PTC standards
11:55am How to test signalling system interoperability on a large scale
• Why is signalling interoperability such a major challenge?
• What are the challenges when conducting large scale tests on signalling systems?
• Ensuring full network coverage across railroads
  Case study: The challenges to successfully implementing PTC
• Project management: keeping to time in order to meet the December 31st deadline
• Co-ordinating with railroads and suppliers
• The main challenges in testing and installation of PTC
  Panel discussion: PTC: Post-deployment strategies
• Attaining a return on investment from PTC installation
• What benefits do PTC and CBTC bring aside from improved safety?
• Post-deployment strategies for continued safe operations
12:55pm Networking lunch
  Room 1
  BRINGING INFRASTRUCTURE UP TO A STATE OF GOOD REPAIR
The MAP-21 Act defines the minimum requirements for railroad asset management; in order to avoid derailments and fatalities, it is essential transit systems and railroads are maintained in a State of Good Repair. This session will look at how following maintenance programs is vital to enhancing railroad safety and how data analysis can help deliver smarter maintenance in a cost-efficient way.

2:10pm Facilitating the shift to predictive maintenance
• How can predictive maintenance both improve safety and contribute to a better customer service?
• Maximizing use of data in order to enhance maintenance programs
• How long does it take before new maintenance programs see a return on investment?
2:25pm Optimizing data analysis techniques to improve safety of railroad assets
• Using data to increase safety
• How can data be leveraged to extend the lifecycles of infrastructure and rolling stock?
• Mathematical programming techniques to maximize the use of data gathered from rail networks
2:40pm Case study: Presenting the results of the SafeTrack maintenance program
• An update on WMATA’s SafeTrack program
• How are WMATA returning their metro system to a State of Good Repair?
• What were the challenges and how were they overcome?
2:55pm Maintaining safety in extreme weather conditions
• How is climate change increasing the frequency of extreme weather?
• Minimizing the impact of harsh weather on operations while maintaining a high level of safety
• Using remote technologies such as drones for post disaster recovery
3:10pm Panel discussion: Tackling the challenges ageing infrastructure presents to safety
• Strengthening regulation in order to ensure railroads are following maintenance programs
• The importance of identifying potential failures before they happen
• How attaining a State of Good Repair can improve operational efficiency as well as safety
3:40pm Afternoon networking and coffee break
   
4:25pm Interactive roundtables: The roundtable sessions promote niche and open discussion amongst delegates. The conference hall will be divided into zones, each themed around a different challenge. Delegates can choose which zone they would like to join and a moderator will lead the group in discussion of the topic

Following the discussion, each table leader will feed their conclusions from the session back to the whole group.
  Next generation technology for remote safety monitoring
  Overcoming barriers to testing PTC interoperability on a large scale

  Track worker protection systems and how to enhance employee safety
  Using mathematical modelling techniques to optimize the use of Big Data
5:30pm Networking Drinks Reception
  Day 2
8:00am Registration
  Room 1
  TECHNOLOGY AS A SAFETY NET FOR HUMAN ERROR
The primary cause of railway accidents, collisions, and derailments is human error; with sleep apnea becoming increasingly prevalent, more and more avoidable accidents are occurring as a result of employee ill health. In the absence of intense medical screening, railroads across North America are in desperate need to find solutions to mitigate this risk: increasing digitalisation and automation are one method of doing so. This session will look at technologies and strategies to protect people and cargo from the dangers caused by human error.
9:00am Threats and challenges of increased reliance on digital processes
• Is automation always safer than manual operation?
• Who is responsible when an automated system fails?
• Defending networks against cyber attacks
9:15am Fatigue-related accidents: how you can mitigate them
• Should there be tighter regulations around health and medical screening?
• Preparing contingency plans for cases of employee fatigue
• What non-intrusive technology is available to monitor and improve employee health?
9:30am Tunnel safety: ventilation and fire prevention
• How poor tunnel ventilation is becoming a fire safety hazard
• Are manual overrides a risk to safety systems?
• Optimizing workforce training
9:45am Panel discussion: Are higher levels of automation key to delivering a safer rail network?
• How can increased automation contribute to better safety?
• What are the risks brought by higher levels of automation?
• Which technologies are most crucial to ensuring the prevention of accidents caused by human error?
  Morning networking and coffee break
 

INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP SESSIONS
The workshop sessions offer a perfect platform for interaction, debate, and sharing of best practice. Following the moderators' introductory presentation, delegates will sit on tables of no more than 10 led by specialist facilitators and will discuss the challenges presented on their tables. Each table will then feed their conclusions back to the whole group, so you can take practical information back to the office to improve your business.

  Room 1 Room 2
10:45am Testing and installation: the final stages of PTC implementation
• Conducting large scale tests on PTC systems
• Training your workforce in new systems
• Ensuring your PTC launch is smooth

Analysing Big Data
• Mathematical modelling techniques for data analysis
• Sharing and re-using data for different projects
• Cost-efficient processes for maximizing the potential of Big Data

11:45pm Networking lunch
  Room 1
  COUNTERMEASURES TO MITIGATE FATALITIES ON HIGHWAY-RAIL CROSSINGS AND RAILROAD RIGHTS-OF-WAY
While safety at grade crossings is consistently improving, trespassing and suicide are the primary cause of fatalities on North American railroads, and those fatalities are increasing. However, discussion around this is often limited, and the use of existing technology needs to be maximized in order to successfully tackle fatalities resulting from accidental or intentional trespassing. This session will look at how railroads can reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians and the role of technology in this.
12:45pm Obstacle detection systems at grade crossings
• How to ensure the safety of automatic obstacle detection systems
• What are the opportunities of installing automatic obstacle detection technology?
• Ensuring no or minimal delays to train services from equipment failure and false detection
1:00pm Using unmanned aerial vehicles to detect trespassers
• Challenges around preventing railroad fatalities in rural areas
• How can existing technology used for infrastructure inspection also be used to protect the public from railroad accidents?
• How much responsibility should the railroad take on for trespass prevention?
1:15pm Public awareness campaigns around mental health and anti-rail-suicide
• What can transit agencies do to reduce the numbers of intentional deaths on railways?
• What is the best way work with public health authorities to raise awareness about suicide, while minimizing rail as a means of suicide?
• What further research is needed to better understand and prevent railroad fatalities?
1:30pm Panel discussion: What can rail do to reduce the number of railroad-related deaths to members of the public?
• Where should funding to reduce railroad fatalities come from?
• What should the government’s role be?
• How can rail support and work alongside mental health charities to increase suicide awareness, particularly for white middle-aged men?
• How can technology be deployed effectively to protect the general public?
2:00pm End of SafeRail
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