Wireless Sensor Networks for Condition Monitoring in the Railway Industry: a Survey

Victoria Jane Hodge, Simon O'Keefe, Michael Weeks, Anthony Moulds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, the range of sensing technologies has expanded rapidly, whereas sensor devices have become cheaper. This has led to a rapid expansion in condition monitoring of systems, structures, vehicles, and machinery using sensors. Key factors are the recent advances in networking technologies such as wireless communication and mobile adhoc networking coupled with the technology to integrate devices. Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) can be used for monitoring the railway infrastructure such as bridges, rail tracks, track beds, and track equipment along with vehicle health monitoring such as chassis, bogies, wheels, and wagons. Condition monitoring reduces human inspection requirements through automated monitoring, reduces maintenance through detecting faults before they escalate, and improves safety and reliability. This is vital for the development, upgrading, and expansion of railway networks. This paper surveys these wireless sensors network technology for monitoring in the railway industry for analyzing systems, structures, vehicles, and machinery. This paper focuses on practical engineering solutions, principally,which sensor devices are used and what they are used for; and the identification of sensor configurations and network topologies. It identifies their respective motivations and distinguishes their advantages and disadvantages in a comparative review.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1106
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number3
Early online date20 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. For more information, see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


  • Asset management
  • condition monitoring
  • decision support systems
  • event detection
  • maintenance engineering
  • preventive maintenance
  • railway engineering
  • wireless sensor networks (WSNs)

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