Harmonised Methodology for Infrastructure Lifetime Assessment


Project information

  • Acronym: MILA
  • Harmonised Methodology for Infrastructure Lifetime Assessment
  • Project director: Christian Chavanel
  • Project manager: Mercedes Gutierrez
  • Status: completed project
  • Project code: 2017/RSF/546

Project description

For the purposes of railway infrastructure asset management, the validity of techno-economic forecasts and studies on life cycle costs largely depend on knowledge of the deterioration processes of components or subsystems.

Appropriate modelling of track component degradation facilitates a deeper understanding of the factors governing deterioration and provides those responsible for maintenance with essential tools to accurately predict maintenance needs and costs and optimise maintenance policies accordingly.

UIC draws its strength from the capacity of its members to share information and experience. However, while qualitative comparisons are straightforward and enlightening, quantitative data exchange often involves differences in approach, references or methodologies.

The objectives of the MILA project were to develop a harmonised methodology for formulation of the ageing laws of track components, to arrive at a common understanding of the physical factors that determine these laws, and to enable more accurate prediction of maintenance needs.

The project contributed to the “Technical-economical asset management” theme within the Rail System Forum strategy and aligned with the maintenance optimisation objective of the Rail Technical Strategy Europe.

This project paved the way for future standardisation techniques for modelling the deterioration processes of the railway system and components.


Improving railway maintenance decision-making: lessons learned from the UIC MILA project
May 2021

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“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” - Peter Drucker, founder of modern management

The UIC Methodology for Infrastructure Lifetime Assessment (MILA) project aims to develop a harmonised methodology to assess the railway infrastructure life cycle. Modelling of track component degradation should enable a better understanding of the factors that contribute to deterioration. It can also provide an essential tool for maintenance engineers to accurately predict maintenance and replacement needs and costs and optimise maintenance and replacement policies.

In addition, in-depth knowledge of deterioration processes affecting track components or subsystems may improve the work of infrastructure managers’ (IM) asset management departments, as well as validation of technical/economic forecasts and life cycle cost (LCC) studies.

This document summarises the lessons learned during the MILA project and key ideas for implementation of future projects. Some of the lessons learned are based on existing theoretical models, while others became apparent during collaboration amongst the MILA members.

First, it is clear that - even in the same conditions - different IMs will not necessarily choose the same track components. Their maintenance work and intervals will also differ. Economic, historical and practical considerations usually prevail over technical considerations.

MILA eNews

UIC eNews, 18 May 2021: UIC MILA project presents its final report

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Sunday 1 January 2017