TV white spaces handover scheme for enabling unattended track geometry monitoring from in-service trains

Mohamed Samra, Lei Chen, Clive Roberts, Costas Constantinou, Anil Shukla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Now more than ever, monitoring railway track geometry from in-service vehicles is an attractive proposition that ensures improved infrastructure performance without interrupting railway operations. Communicating the collected sensors-data to a central server has always been an issue due to the current GSM-R and LTE data-rate and spectrum limitations. The prospect of opportunistic access to an inefficiently utilised frequency spectrum, known as TV White Spaces (TVWS), is proposed to solve the spectrum scarcity problem that exploits desirable railway propagation characteristics. In order to provide full protection for the spectrum primary users, IEEE 802.22 standard sets strict policies on the mobile platforms. This research proposes a novel handover scheme that utilises a greedy algorithm to select the operational frequency channels. The scheme takes into account; the train's trajectory, including the possibility of train delays, and coexistence issues between the spectrum's secondary users. A case study of two trains reporting their collected maintenance data to 3 Access Points (APs) while travelling between Selly Oak and New Street Station, Birmingham, UK is presented. For high channels availability (≥40%), an average of 30 megabytes of extra track data can be transmitted using the new approach for an 8 min journey. In addition, a single channel can be used in the new approach for an average consecutive distance of 1.05 km compared with an average of 0.58 km for IEEE 802.22 standard. Both systems provide identical interference performance with more transmission power that can reach up to 42.2 dBm allowed under the new scheme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1161-1173
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Dynamic spectrum access
  • railway communications
  • remote condition monitoring
  • TV white spaces


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