The past decade has seen an unprecedented level of urban transit development across China.
More than 100 metro lines have been built in just the last 10 years, with subways now operating in 30 cities across the country, totalling more than 2,700 miles.
Throughout this period, technological advances continued to improve overall system safety and performance, none more so than the introduction of a new domestically-developed Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) system.
For many years, China's metro networks used imported CBTC systems to manage the flow of traffic. But in 2004, Beijing Traffic Control Technology Co., Limited (TCT), one of China's leading manufacturers of signalling technologies for urban metros, began developing a CBTC system of its own, backed by the support of a national government looking to encourage domestic signalling technologies.
China's first domestically-developed CBTC technology
The original LCF-300 system was certified for operation by Ricardo's Product Certification team (then called CCS-LR) in 2010. During this assessment process our experts assessed the system was developed against International and European standards, with safety functions that met Safety Integrity Level (SIL4).
It took two years to certify LCF-300 system (V1.0) for its first application on the Yizhuang Line in 2010, with the team applying both risk and process-based audit methods throughout the product's development.
The risk-based methodology evaluated identified risks at each stage of the development cycle to determine whether they are reasonably controlled and reduced to an acceptable level.
The accompanying process-based approach involved a thorough review of the output documents submitted by the client during the product development. This includes requirement files, risk analysis, outline and detailed design, testing documents, verification and validation, and quality management documentation.
Supporting an evolving technology product
Since its initial installation - the first domestically developed CBTC system - the LCF-300 system has been upgraded and applied on metro lines in cities such as Chengdu, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Tianjin.
The Ricardo Beijing office has worked with TCT to support each upgrade/variation and commissioning in accordance with the specific requirements of the intended metro line.
The team has now assessed all the upgraded systems since LCF 300 V1.0, including LCF-300 V2.0, LCF-300 V3.0 LCF-300 V4.0, LCF-300 V5.0, LCF-300 V6.0, LCF-300 V7.0, LCF-300 V8.0, LCF-300 V9.0 and the latest LCF-300 V10.0.
To meet the challenging deadlines of assessing constantly evolving product, our approach has been to assess how any variation might generate a new system risk and then seek clarification that it would not jeopardize the safety level of existing systems.