Railway signaling system assessment
Travel & transportation, Risk

For a global railway signaling manufacturer we delivered an effective independent safety assessment of their European products


A major signaling manufacturer was developing generic ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) products. These products form the core of those systems to be delivered to meet the specific application needs of a variety of European clients, compatible with the European UNISIG specifications. The manufacturer required an effective, yet pragmatic, independent safety  (ISA) assessment of the development of such products.


Arthur D. Little has developed its own unique approach to ISA projects. The approach is always split into the following phases:

  • Examine the management system and processes in place (understand), and analyze them for weaknesses (assess).  
  • We then test the system or procedure, giving more emphasis to those where the initial examination indicated possible weaknesses (verify).  In carrying out the tests we also focus on those elements of the system that appear to be more critical to the safety of the system.  This means that the vertical slice we take focuses on certain of the critical activities and elements.
  • Assess the overall results of the work.


Thank you to you and your team. The assessment has been carried out well and you have done an amazing job. We are proud to have an ISA with strong technical skills.


Our involvement from the early stages of the development project (since 2000) has enabled us to ensure an appropriate, firm development foundation.  Our assessment has been based on both a strong site presence as well as on review of key documentation.  Key elements of our approach include:

  • A pragmatic assessment, based on a detailed understanding of the applicable safety standards and on the manufacturer’s development approach.
  • Proactive assessment, reviewing proposed processes before they are applied.
  • Only significant concerns identified, not trivia.
  • Completion of assessment in-line with the products’ delivery program, ensuring that product delivery deadlines could be met.

By following this approach, key issues have been identified early, enabling appropriate remedial action without excessive cost.  Our assessment has also provided a stimulus for improvement in the contractor’s development and safety management processes.

We continue to be retained for assessment of continuing evolutions to the products concerned.