My last two Viewpoint columns looked at the success of London Underground’s Victoria Line Upgrade programmes, which have successfully delivered a world-class service for passengers.
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With 36 trains per hour (tph) running along the entire line during peak times, an extra 3,000 passengers are now able to travel every hour during the busiest times of the day. So, what are the next major step-changes in technology for metro operators?
To answer this, we need to re-adjust our focus, and think not in terms of moving trains around a network, but more broadly about how we safely, efficiently and reliably move people around cities.
And the answer to this lies in the availability, acquisition, aggregation and then analysis of data – followed by the timely communication of tailored information to travellers at the most appropriate points in their journey.
The creation of condition-based maintenance systems ensures efficient reliability is achieved, with the integration of other data from infrastructure such as car parks, railways and roads, enabling the development of intelligent solutions to facilitate faster, more efficient journeys.
For example, data is already being used to advise travellers in real time where spaces are in car parks, which train carriages have seats available and where there are delays in their onward journey, but by joining this up, we will be able to guide travellers seamlessly through their journey, enabling them to make smart and informed decisions.
In Europe, the effective integration of traveller information is already a reality, with Siemens’ SiMobility Connect platform providing an
interface for transport operators and mobility service providers.
The system allows real-time passenger information, journey planning, booking, e-ticket purchase and payment to be communicated across various modes of transport.
Constantly updated traffic information can be used to optimise route recommendations in real time.
Rail operator Schweizerische Südostbahn in Switzerland is now using the SiMobility platform to provide travellers with access to information about transport services across the entire country.
Other areas of operation are also being examined, with energy performance and storage and efficiency a major focus.
Hydrogen fuel cells, kinetic energy recovery systems and electric car charging points linked to the railway’s power network are all current research projects that are at varying stages of development.
When added to the work that is already underway to improve the passenger experience, all this will combine to make transport networks more efficient and more effective, and will underline the vital role that metro systems play in connecting people across a multi-modal network.
● Ian Jones is key account manager at Siemens Rail Automation
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