Railroad Information Sharing Environment (RISE)
The Railroad Information Sharing Environment (RISE) is a voluntary, non-regulatory, non-punitive, data-driven safety partnership consisting of railroad stakeholders, including FRA, to advance railroad safety. Through a data trust, railroad stakeholders voluntarily share data and work collaboratively to address complex railroad safety challenges. The goal of this public-private partnership is to use data for safety improvements that would be difficult for individual railroads to achieve on their own.
The goal of this public-private partnership is to use data for safety improvements that would be difficult for individual railroads to achieve on their own.
RISE uses the following process to accomplish this:
- RISE stakeholders collaborate to identify safety concerns that RISE can help solve
- Stakeholders share data with a trusted third party—a data steward—that anonymizes, protects, aggregates, and analyzes the data
- The data steward shares analysis findings with RISE stakeholders
- Together, stakeholders determine how to use the findings to improve safety
Participation in RISE provides stakeholders the ability to collaboratively address safety-critical topics. It also affords an opportunity for railroad stakeholders to bring multiple sources of data and expertise to solve complex railroad issues. By combining data across multiple sources, stakeholders can identify trends that are difficult to detect in the data from any single stakeholder. This data aggregation makes it possible to identify emerging issues and propose solutions to those problems earlier.
RISE is governed by its stakeholders, putting them in charge of how RISE advances safety. Stakeholders comprise an Executive Board that is responsible for high-level decision-making about RISE policies related to which issues to explore and how that information is used to benefit the industry. Stakeholders also participate on an Issue Analysis Team and individual Working Groups to identify and address specific safety concerns. A third party serves as a data steward to manage and analyze data in coordination with Working Groups and the Issue Analysis Team.
Similar data trusts have been implemented in other transportation modes, including the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis & Sharing program (ASIAS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety program (PARTS). Like RISE, these efforts use a third-party data steward to analyze safety-critical data.
Who can participate in RISE?
Organizations with an interest in railroad safety can participate. Organizations can include railroads, labor organizations, trade associations, railroad vendors, academic institutions, and government agencies.
What are the obligations of participants?
RISE stakeholders are asked to actively support RISE through one or more of the following:
- Identifying topics for consideration by the stakeholders, sharing data, providing railroad domain expertise for analysis of railroad data, and participating in discussions with other RISE stakeholders.
- Contributing to the development of the governance of RISE through participation on the Executive Board, the Issue Analysis Team, and/or one of the Working Groups.
Who is the third-party data steward responsible for data management and analysis?
FRA contracted with the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory (CATT Lab) to serve as the third party to store and manage data collected for RISE. CATT Lab has extensive expertise in data fusion, protection, and visualization.
How are data protected?
Stakeholders that agree to share data retain ownership of the data stored by the third party. Stakeholders share data through a secure process agreed to between the stakeholder and the third party. The third party is responsible for data ingestion, protection, organization, and analysis. Individual stakeholder data is never seen by FRA or any other stakeholder railroads. Data are combined by the data steward and only those aggregated data are seen by RISE stakeholders.
What are the roles of the third-party data steward, FRA, and stakeholders?
Third-party data steward. The third-party data steward, CATT Lab, provides a secure environment for stakeholders’ data to be shared, stored, and analyzed. It also serves as the lead in performing analyses and presenting output to the stakeholders
FRA. FRA provides funding for RISE, including for the third-party data steward, and works alongside stakeholders to oversee and direct the work, including as a member of the Executive Board. FRA does not have any unique decision-making authority in its role as all decisions are made by consensus of the Executive Board. FRA is one voice among many to help ensure that RISE succeeds in its mission to identify critical safety issues to solve with shared data.
Stakeholder railroads. Stakeholder railroads determine how RISE functions, including the topics that are selected, the data that are shared, and what to do with the insights discovered through RISE. Stakeholders contribute data as well as staff time to dedicate to data interpretation and analysis.
What types of problems can RISE be used to solve?
The potential applications of RISE are broad. An initial pilot of RISE investigated employee injuries using both reportable and non-reportable incidents to help identify trends. Future studies may tackle critical safety issues related to grade crossing safety, track inspection, or other issues important to railroad stakeholders.