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PASSENGERS catching trains on the future Metro Rail system will use their smartphones to find available seats while waiting on platforms.
And while there will still be drivers, trains will also run with a high degree of automation allowing more efficient operations throughout the network.
Two consortiums have been short-listed to help deliver such outcomes under $1 billion worth of signalling and communications systems for the Metro Rail project.
Global infrastructure giant Siemens, which employs 2000 in Australia, is part of the MetroConnect group bidding for the lucrative Melbourne rail contract.
Currently visiting Australia is Siemens rail data guru Gerhard Kress, who leads a high-powered team which crunches data and offers solutions for public transport operators.
Passengers will be able to find a free seat by using their smartphones on train platforms. Picture: Eugene Hyland“Overall, the idea is to make the system more reliable, more cost effective and helping the operators to improve the passenger experience,” he said.
Mr Kress said many rail systems were still run as they were decades ago, but they needed to adapt to a fast-changing world.
“Those systems have to make themselves ready for the future when you’ll have in 10 years or so more autonomous driving cars — how is that going to change the way a city moves, how are people going to get around,” he said.
“And today’s rail systems are not yet there.”
Melbourne’s new Metro system will have Wi-Fi connectivity and passengers will have access to apps directing them to less crowded carriages.
Max Eichhorn, head of Siemens Australia’s mobility division, said information would also be displayed at passenger screen doors on platforms.
The trains will have Wi-Fi, with doors to direct passengers to less crowded carriages. Picture: Tony Gough“So I will know that carriage number six is empty and I find a seat there, and I don’t have to stand in front of carriage five because everybody is there,” he said.
“These are the things that we can provide in order to increase the passenger experience.”
Mr Kress said that his team produced algorithms to predict potential train breakdowns.
“With predictive maintenance, if you know that something is going to fail and you know that two weeks’ in advance, you can plan when to change the component at a time when it doesn’t disturb operations,” he said.
Siemens is a key supplier for the state government’s level crossing removal program and is also signal supplier for the Melbourne train network.
Industry figures including Metro Trains managing director Andrew Lezala and Public Transport Victoria CEO Jeroen Weimar recently attended a presentation by Mr Kress.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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