Interoperability is considered a vital part of rail systems in many parts of the world. In Australia, particularly, many states and jurisdictions, in effect, need to operate effectively together.

A goal of the Australian Rail Industry is for trains to move safely, efficiently, and effectively from one network to another. One tool in achieving this is interoperability: networks, assets, systems, and processes are mutually interdependent.

The aim of this Standard is to outline requirements that encourage rail organisations to work collaboratively towards interoperability providing benefits for the whole of the rail industry.

Its intent is to enhance the understanding of interoperability as well as to provide a methodology for considering interoperability when introducing new technology or implementing a change management process.

Interoperability has the potential to provide many benefits to the Australian rail industry in terms of safety, harmonisation, cost effectiveness and future proofing. The approach in this Standard is to encourage the consideration of improving interoperability at all opportunities where a change is proposed. The structure of this document is:

  • Sections 1 to 5 provide a background on the Standard and Interoperability principles to be applied.
  • Section 6 provides a guide to interoperability considerations. Section 7 gives a description of the levels of interoperability to be considered.
  • Section 8 provides a roadmap to implementation of interoperability.
  • Section 9 describes what should be contained in the Interoperability Assessment Report.

In order to demonstrate compliance with this Standard the user is obliged to:

  1. address all mandatory items in Sections 4 to 7;
  2. follow the roadmap detailed in Section 8 and;
  3. if required, produce a report on interoperability considerations and outcomes as detailed in Section 9.

For the purposes of this standard all clauses containing the term “shall” are considered mandatory requirements, all clauses containing the term “should” are considered recommendations, and all other clauses are explanatory statements.

This document is the primary standard on railway interoperability. It is supported by the following subordinate documents:

  • AS7666 Train Protection and Control Interoperability, and
  • A Guideline on Interoperability Opportunities.