Analysys Mason helping Oslo's metro with new signalling systems

16 November 2020 3 min. read

WiFi operated communication technology is increasingly popular as a railway signaling tool, which will now be applied on Oslo Metro. Telecom-specialised management consultancy Analysys Mason is developing digital solutions for the project.

Communications-based train control (CBTC) is the cutting edge in railway signaling. A break from a range of manual, light-based or electronic railway traffic control methods, CBTC uses WiFi to connect rail equipment to tracks and facilitate real-time electronic communication. What results is a more efficient signaling system that boosts frequency and safety simultaneously.

CBTC is currently leveraged in 100 metro systems across the US, China and Brazil, while several key European cities such as London, Paris, Munich, Copenhagen and Stockholm have all piloted the technology on select lines. Oslo Metro now joins these ranks, with plans to implement CBTC across the entire network.

Analysys Mason helping Oslo's metro with new signalling systems

Involved in the project is consulting firm Analysys Mason’s Oslo office, which is tasked crucially with developing the datalink system that will provide the electronic connection for exchanging information. The firm specialises in telecoms, media, technology and digital services, and is involved in a number of projects that form hallmarks of the digital economy.

Jon Ivar Kroken – a manager at Analysys Mason in Oslo with more than 14 years of telecoms and regulation experience – is leading the Oslo Metro project.

Providing the network connection, meanwhile, is Swedish public mobile operator Telia, which was awarded the contract in mid June. Concerns have previously emerged that relying on mobile service providers for metro connectivity might leave the door open for interference and weak bandwidth. Oslo Metro has taken a number of precautions in this regard.

For one, Telia is contractually bound to prioritise metro signaling and ensure that there is full coverage at all times across the entire network. As a buffer, the metro will also use public mobile networks to provide more connectivity options. Using an existing mobile network provider eliminates the need for long licensing procedures – a popular and cost-effective solution. The set up is even cheaper when used in conjunction with other public networks, as it requires minimal extra investment in reliability for the telecom operator.

CEO at Oslo Metro Cato Hellesjø expressed his faith in Oslo’s data infrastructure to support the transition to CBTC. “The level of mobile network coverage in Norway is world-class, and its mobile networks are characterised by their advanced services, good coverage and high level of stability.”

“By controlling our new signalling over an existing mobile network, we will be using a tried-and-tested technology in a smart way. Norway’s mobile networks have already been built and the cost is shared among numerous customers. Sporveien (the Metro) will benefit from technical and commercial developments in the mobile market,” he added.

Suppliers, telecoms regulators and the government are all on board with equipping Oslo Metro with CBTC – a key link in the new urban mobility landscape emerging across Europe and the world. Oslo is looking to compete with cities such as Stockholm, Amsterdam and Helsinki, which have established themselves as global urban mobility leaders. Alongside developing its public transport network, authorities in Oslo also started mapping the city in recent years to prepare for autonomous vehicle infrastructure.