All activities of the Institute of Railway Engineering and Transport Economy are based on an understanding of the overall system railway. This broad knowledge of the overall system is also the main focus within our many lectures dealing with railway infrastructure, economics and operation. Key areas of research of the institute are the overall life cycle of infrastructure including planning, construction, operation, maintenance and assessment. Furthermore, traffic concepts and feasibility studies considering operational and infrastructural aspects are developed. By taking into account the numerous interdependencies within the railway system, reasonable solutions and implementations can be achieved. Apart from technical and operational aspects, economic consequences also need to be considered. Due to that, transport economy in general and economic assessments regarding life cycle management in particular constitute the high-level scope for all national and international projects of the institute. Specially developed calculation models for answering economic questions have already proven to be highly valuable as already implemented in various railway infrastructure companies. Current projects include optimising the life cycle of ballasted track and incorporating wheel to rail forces as parameters in track access charging.