Ticket to ride: an investigation into the use of blockchain technology in the rail industry

Preece, Joseph David ORCID: 0000-0002-1854-3578 (2021). Ticket to ride: an investigation into the use of blockchain technology in the rail industry. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The rail industry in Great Britain is undergoing a renaissance. Rising passenger numbers, a steady freight industry, and numerous planned projects make this an exciting time to be involved. Nonetheless, the network relies upon many legacy systems that impede progress. This stifling of progress is noticeable in the digital domain in particular, where a cluster of impractical formats and systems leave swathes of data with untapped potential. The search for interoperability in the industry is not a new one; many have conducted investigations and projects, to no avail.

Blockchains are an exciting new avenue of technology and are beginning to disrupt various industries. Despite this, few investigations exist into the potential use of the technology in the rail industry. From a purely technical perspective, the distributed nature of the technology has the potential to overcome the issues of data centralisation and the lack of trust amongst stakeholders. Nevertheless, as a new technology, it is not yet fully understood by those in the industry. This lack of understanding is a barrier to adoption and is as essential to consider as the technical implications.

This thesis proposes a new model to aid the decision-making process of those seeking to use blockchain. We validate this model by utilising it for two rail-specific use cases. The first is to build a marketisable data-sharing platform for rail industry data. Within this project, we investigate both classical and post-quantum cryptographic approaches to the platform. The second is a brand new approach digital ticketing for the GB rail network, to initiate the process of replacing the legacy ticketing systems still in operation. We use blockchain technology as the core data store to achieve this. We demonstrate the viability of both use cases, supporting the appropriate deployment of blockchain technology in the rail industry.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Easton, JohnUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0001-8745-6753
Roberts, CliveUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0002-1518-2105
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Engineering, Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12095


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