Railway Knowledge Graph in the EU Mobility Data Space

The paper ” Railway Knowledge Graph in the EU Mobility Data Space” (Aguado, M., Vasilopoulou, P., Carr, C., Rojas, J., Dowey, D., Velitchkov, I.) will be presented at the 11th FSR Annual Conference “From Data Spaces to Data Governance” (9-10 June, 2022).


The EU’s ambitious target to become the first carbon neutral economic area by 2050 relies upon the European rail network becoming the by-default EU mobility backbone. Digital transformation may turn the green shift into a reality by matching real-time multimodal demand for travel and supply of rides; integrating seamlessly the railway system in an attractive mobility offer and transforming it into an even more connected and flexible system.

Rail is a complex system with many railway assets scattered all along the railway line, and some of them entitle a critical safety service condition. These elements are managed simultaneously by different organisations (e.g., infrastructure managers, operators, manufacturers, or maintainers). In the last years, several enablers appeared and matured at an efficient cost, contributing to a massive digitalization of the railway subsystems through the daily generation of a large amount of data.

Efficient rail business operations highly depend on reliable access to meaningful data from those subsystems anywhere, anytime. However, governing these data from diverse provenance i.e. access, linking and harnessing their value remains a challenge.

There are nowadays multiple existing initiatives for data sharing in the multimodal chain -railway sector included, (B2G and B2B). However, these data platforms demand an interoperability framework -at semantic and organisational level- to ensure connectivity between them, both within and beyond the mobility sector, and to avoid fragmentation.

The combination of current maturity in the field of digital technologies and the sectorial legal framework – duly empowered by the EU Data Strategy and the Data Governance Act are an opportunity to accomplish this mission. Agency has triggered its contribution to the EU Mobility Data Space by transforming the European Register of Railway Infrastructure into the ERA knowledge graph.

Research Design and Expected Results:

Rail sector legal framework determines multiple flows of data exchange between the railway stakeholders and the Agency as the basis to assure interoperability. Consequently, the Agency has a leading role to play in the field of railway data management by storing and making available this register based information so it can be reused and exploited by the sector to enhance data interoperability between the different players. The Agency´s aim is to harness the harmonisation in terminology achieved in the legal railway documents -via domain experts contribution-, and to expose it in digital terms (core vocabulary, controlled vocabulary, reference data management).

Railway digitalization also means to provide a digital identity to all the railway assets, a browsable Uniform and unique Resource Identifier (URI), with a secured control access when needed.

In 2020, the Agency initiated a path to transform the data hosted in premises from siloed to connected data, and to reuse and connect it in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) based on linked data. Consequently, we avoid duplication and inconsistency. Today, one of our major registers, RINF, the EU register hosting the EU data railway information, is expressed in a machine queriable manner using a knowledge graph. Agency´s digital roadmap, envisages to transform gradually all the structured data hosted on premises – core vocabulary, reference data and master data – so it can be reused by the sector as a glue to facilitate their business-to-business data exchange.

Agency digital transformation will cover also our reports transformed from unstructured to structured machine readable queriable data. The goal is to take the most out of a sector – sometimes considered heavily regulated – and to transform these texts – application guides included – into harmonized machine readable instruments which can facilitate data exchange in the digital railway domain.


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