Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering

Current research engineers

Photo of Joe Murphy

Joseph Murphy


The Application of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) requirements to a BIM-centric virtual railway network


High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd


Dr Steven Yeomans
Prof Tony Thorpe

Dr Sonia Zahiroddiny
Mr Andrew Pestana

Director of Research
Dr Chris Goodier

Research Period

2018 - 2022

The Application of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) requirements to a BIM-centric virtual railway network

Current state-of-the-art:

 “HS2 needs to be built better, faster and cheaper than any other railway. We’re going to have to innovate. It’s the only way.” CEO, HS2 Ltd.

To support the successful delivery and operation of the HS2 rail network it is acknowledged that innovation will be essential. Working under an umbrella theme of “Innovation for whole life value”, there are several key initiatives that HS2 would like to work with Loughborough University to help optimise the build and operation of the HS2 railway.

There is significant potential for applying a systems engineering approach to civil infrastructure (Blockley & Godfrey, 2000; INCOSE, 2012a) where integration is important to ensure that the parts, components, units, subassemblies, subsystems and systems work together as a whole (Whyte, 2016). Conversely, there has been little research specifically focused on systems integration in civil infrastructure… (Satumtira & Dueñas-Osorio, 2010). Whyte (2016) states the systems engineering community emphasises the potential of model-based systems engineering (MBSE), and that researchers approached systems integration through model based systems engineering approaches such as SySML, to derive a theoretical basis for systems integration, and developed ex-ante (using forecast rather than actual results) and post-facto (retroactive) tools. MBSE formalises the application of modelling to support system requirements, analysis, design, verification and validation to deal with complexity and provide unambiguous communication amongst stakeholders to improve quality, productivity and reduce risk (INCOSE, 2012b).

HS2 Ltd., as system integration authority, and to meet the virtual railway vision, is looking to develop and apply such a MBSE methodology to their Building Information Modelling (BIM) framework. In doing so, it is envisaged the MBSE approach enables validation and transition processes to be undertaken in a cost and timely manner, in order to progressively assure and aggregate components or elements that compose the whole system. To implement such complex systems, the overall system needs to be broken down in subsystems with relevant requirements being translated through a process of functional and physical architecture definition into detailed, but yet data centric, specifications and the interfaces in between (Zahiroddiny, 2017). The intention is this research project will study the MBSE process from a ‘requirements’ view of a Systems Engineering (SE).


Aims and Objectives:

The project’s primary aim is to develop a validated MBSE approach to functional requirements capture on large high-speed railway infrastructure projects for the purposes of verification and validation; the outputs of which should be embedded within a BIM framework to facilitate automation and visualisation of the validation process. The following objectives have been set to support achievement of the main research aim:

  1. Ascertain the most significant, impactful issues to be resolved using a MBSE and SE requirements capture approach

  2. Define current best practice in MBSE and  SE requirements capture.

  3. Determine which MBSE languages (e.g. UML, SysML or other multi-user tools) and modelling techniques (e.g. Data Flow Diagramming; Process Modelling, Behavioural Modelling; Entity Relationship Modelling; Finite Element Modelling, Environment Virtualisation, Computer Aided Design etc…) would best support a MBSE approach on large scale infrastructure projects

  4. Define a set of technological rules that facilitate knowledge and understanding of how to apply a SE requirements capture and MBSE approach to support design, validation and verification, configuration and analysis throughout the life-cycle within a BIM framework

  5. Authenticate the final proposed solution through both alpha-testing by the Research Engineer, and beta-testing within the community of practice, to identify and eradicate flaws or limitations in the technological rules to provide a final validated  methodology for a SE requirements based MBSE approach on large high-speed railway infrastructure projects for the purposes of verification and validation within a BIM framework.



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The Centre Administrator
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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