ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL (ETA) and FORECAST QUALIFIER (ETAQ)
Following the successful implementation of previous phases, the ETA Programme has set the goal to improve the accuracy of ETA by helping Infrastructure Managers (IMs) to take into account different sources of providers and introduce ETA calculation based on an algorithm using artificial intelligence. Beyond that, the involvement of all players concerned in an international freight train path is the programme’s priority.
The ETA calculated with the help of artificial intelligence is more accurate than the ETA based on linear time shifting, which is the type currently shared by most IMs through TIS. The introduction of the new ETA calculation method will therefore make it potentially more interesting for new stakeholders, such as terminals and CTOs, to connect to TIS. These new stakeholders can benefit from the provided information such as data on when a train is being loaded or unloaded in their premises and at the same time contribute to enhanced train details in TIS. All communication with new stakeholders will be based on the TAF TSI Common Interface.
In addition to sharing ETAs from different sources, it is also necessary to have the possibility to compare the provided ETAs. For this purpose a new element – the ETA qualifier – needs to be implemented to measure and compare the quality of provided ETAs. This qualifier assesses the accuracy of forecast messages and allows to choose the appropriate prediction for a whole train run or its individual sections. The qualifier will help the provider to be aware of the current situation and will potentially lead to improvements in ETA calculations.
As a second step, the goal is for IMs to share forecast messages with the sector. During 2020 it is planned to define the procedure of sharing enhanced ETAs with sector stakeholders involved in an international freight train run. The data sharing will be based on TIS message exchange. Through a TIS user interface ETA forecast information from different sources will be displayed to all users along with ETA qualifiers. In order to achieve EU-wide harmonisation of the ETA qualifier, the focus will be on including the calculation of ETA accuracy into the TAF TSI Sector Handbook.