European Railway Agency - ERA

Moving Europe towards a sustainable
and safe railway system without frontiers.

Work of ERA’s Linked Data Team Published

Work of ERA’s Linked Data Team Published

28 Oct 2021

The team in charge of ERA’s transformation from a traditional to a data-centric approach of data management is proud to have contributed a chapter entitled “Leveraging Semantic Technologies for Digital Interoperability in the European Railway Domain” to a publication coming out of the 20th International Semantic Web Conference ISWC 2021. The publication is among the 3 candidates for the award of best paper In-Use in ISWC 2021.

The European Union Agency for Railways so far relied on traditional application-centric approaches to support the data exchange among multiple actors interacting within the railway domain. This lead however, to isolated digital environments that consequently added barriers to digital interoperability while increasing the cost of maintenance and innovation. 

In the article, the team shows how Semantic Web technologies are leveraged to create a semantic layer for data integration across the base registries maintained by the Agency. 

The approach is validated by applying these technologies to supporting route compatibility checks, a highly demanded use case in this domain, which was not available over the agency’s registries before. 

This work demonstrates how data-centric system design, powered by Semantic Web technologies and Linked Data principles, provides a framework to achieve data interoperability and unlock new and innovative use cases and applications. Based on the results obtained during this work, ERA officially decided to make Semantic Web and Linked Data-based approaches, the default setting for any future development of the data, registers and specifications under the agency’s remit for data exchange mandated by the EU legal framework. The next steps, which are already underway, include further developing and bringing these solutions to a production-ready state.

ERA would like to thank all co-contributors to this article for their invaluable contribution.

Read the article here

Order the publication here

Watch the recording of the Linked Data ERA Webinar (28 October 2021)