Project Background

The Department of Transport in Melbourne was seeking an independent technical obsolescence assessment of its safety critical train radio communications systems based on GSM-R technology.

The system is comprised of multiple complex sub-systems integrated with both legacy rail systems and operational networks. The assignment provided an independent financial and technical report of the technological drivers and lifecycle management issues giving rise to potentially upgrading the existing Digital Train Radio System (DTRS) 2G RAN and CORE in consideration of the current operational risks and the State’s plans to potentially evolve the
network to a future 4G LTE and 5G capability. This was to be assessed against the vendors risk profile of DTRS life cycle management and to validate such claims. A key challenge was to ensure solutions addressing the immediate obsolescence were feasible and practical throughout the Department of Treasury and Finance Investment Lifecycle by improving clarity and consistency around technical processes and requirements, through review and design challenge.


How Innova Helped

On behalf of DOT, Innova was engaged via Jacob’s to conduct an independent audit and obsolescence assessment, engineering due diligence and recommendation of the GSMR Digital Train Radio System (DTRS).

Innova adopted a risk based quantitative and qualitative assessment to the audit of the system and asset management processes. Semi formal methods were utilised to qualify the failure mode consequences and criticality of those consequences (e.g.: causal failure analysis, FMECA, Reliability Block Diagram verification) which was confirmed against network operations incident management reports and root cause analysis. Vendor Performance reports were assessed against commercial Managed Service Level Agreements to ascertain trend analysis and target Reliability, Availability and Maintainability requirements under contract. A stakeholder management plan was established and implemented in accordance with the audit’s governance arrangements. Consultation was completed with key government agencies and global benchmarking was undertaken with comparable jurisdictions for cross-sector design review in the context of proposed obsolescence management pathways within the constraints of the design and interoperability of components.

A risk analysis was developed based on the options identified and those options assessed, with context of stakeholder operational risk tolerances and HAZOP input.

Achieved Outcomes

Innova was able to validate the key root causes of the DTRS obsolescence and the scope mapping to benefits and optioneering, considering the project trade-offs to quantify and optimise benefits based on time and cost constraints.

Existing Metro Trains annual works plan considerations and provisions under the MR4 franchise arrangements were assessed including the commercial obligations of the vendor so as the State was identifying synergies and value in the proposed investment.

The reported findings successfully contributed to a cabinet submission and allocation of DTRS ‘No Regrets’ funding to address GSMR obsolescence of $83m across multiple sub-systems including the RAN, CORE and Dispatch. The project is currently in its implementation phase managed by DoT Critical Works Program.


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