Opal Travel

Opal Travel app to include real-time social distancing alerts

Transport for NSW will deliver real-time alerts for COVID-19-safe train travel through the Opal Travel app.

The alerts will enable passengers on Sydney Trains and Sydney Metro services to be alerted based on the capacity of the service they typically travel on, allowing commuters to make decisions to further social distancing.

The COVID-19 alerts are in addition to existing alerts on trackwork, delays, and major incidents.

NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said that the function would further enable safe use of public transport.

“The new feature is a world leading piece of innovation that uses real-time capacity and predictive data to help customers make better choices when travelling,” said Constance.

“We have already implemented the green dots across the network, and the notifications are another way we can help maintain physical distancing and keep people COVID safe.”

The new function was rolled out to the app in just 12 weeks and utilised data that already existed.

The developers of the alert function hope that the feature will make passengers feel more comfortable and safer when using public transport.

The alerts have been personalised based on the user’s preferences, and further feedback is hoped to help improve the design.

The Opal Travel app was updated with real-time departure information for public transport in October, similar to the information displayed on screen as stations. Other information such as vehicle position, transfer information, as well as disruptions such as trackwork or delays are also now available through the app.

These function further integrate customer information within the Opal Travel app. While passengers were able to use third party apps for real time travel data, Opal payment functions were only accessible through the Opal Travel App.

The function is expected to roll out to light rail, ferry, and bus passengers in the near future.

Predictive maintenance

Bombardier launches predictive maintenance service for rail signalling

Global rail manufacturer and signalling and rollingstock provider Bombardier has launched a new predictive maintenance service designed for rail signalling infrastructure.

Named EBI Sense, the technology turns asset performance data into insights, enabling decision-making on maintenance to reduce disruptions and increase availability.

Richard Hunter, president, rail control solutions, Bombardier Transportation, said the service would utilises the latest technology, such as wireless sensors, and web-based interfaces.

“The launch of our innovative, cloud-native, predictive maintenance service for signalling is a transformative step towards realising the benefits of digitalisation for railway performance,” said Hunter.

The system is designed for widely distributed rail systems including trackside assets such as point machines and track circuits.

Based off the data collected, algorithms can predict equipment failure and schedule maintenance.

The subscription-based service is designed to be easy to use on a mobile app or web browser.

The system was developed in-house by Bombardier’s Sweden-based rail control solutions services team.

“Developed through a combination of technology and expertise combined with the latest exciting digital enablers, EBI Sense is a true reflection of our commitment to continuously innovate and add value for our customers across their system’s entire lifecycle,” said Hunter.

AssetWise

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Rail and transit owners have recognised the potential for better outcomes by using digital twins in analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in simulations and decision support throughout the lifecycle of design, construction, and operations.

Download the ebook below to see how you can gain better insights into your rail and transit data and make the best business decisions using AssetWise Digital Twin solutions.

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Year in Infrastructure conference highlights digital twin innovation

At the Year in Infrastructure conference, hosted by infrastructure software company Bentley Systems, audiences were told that adoption of digital tools for infrastructure delivery and operations will only accelerate after the experience of COVID-19.

With global investment in infrastructure as method of economic recovery coming together with the impetus for more sustainable methods of construction and mobility, efficiencies through using digital tools are becoming unavoidable.

Through the use of digital twins for modelling and simulations in the design and construction phase, or for monitoring asset and network performance in the operational stage, more environmentally friendly materials can be used, waste can be reduced, while costs can be reduced and timelines shortened.

In addition, as COVID-19 has demonstrated, projects will still need to continue even when workforces are dispersed, either working from home, or across countries without being able to easily meet in person.

These factors have meant that digital tools such as those supplied by Bentley Systems are invaluable for infrastructure builders, managers, and operators.

Another macro factor that is impacting on the adoption of digital tools in the infrastructure space is the possibilities of big data and IoT. With more data being collected than ever, modelling and simulation software will be needed to make sense of this data and allow it to be seen as a productive resource.

One example of the benefit of digital twins can be seen in the adoption of digital engineering tools in the design and construction of the world’s tallest rail pier girder bridge in northern India. Constructed by Indian Railways, the railway bridge is required to support high-speed and broad gauge trains for the next century in difficult terrain. Seismic events and strong winds were also a concern for the 141 metre tall bridge.

On of the Year in Infrastructure Awards finalists, Indian Railways is using Bentley tools including OpenRail, PLAXIS, and STAAD, and the project has been able to make savings of US$24.61 million ($34.58m). These efficiencies were found through the better selection of types of materials and construction methodologies.

Once the bridge is complete, embedded instruments and drone surveys will be used to monitor the health of the bridge remotely, with a digital twin used to simulate how the bridge is behaving and the effect of inputs. This will ensure the infrastructure manager will be able to make timely decisions to ensure the sustainability of the bridge.

Melbourne to trial real-time crowding data

As part of an overhaul of the PTV app, Melbourne commuters will be able to see how full their train is before boarding.

The technology will first undergo a trial with a small group of public transport users on trains and buses in Melbourne.

Data will come from passenger counting sensors and predictive modelling technology and be fed into real-time updates displayed on the PTV app.

Victorian minister for Public Transport and Roads Ben Carroll said the trial will enable passengers to return to public transport safely.

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented an opportunity for us to rethink how we travel around the state – we want these passenger modelling trials to help people travel more reliably and safely,” he said.

“While everyone has been doing the right thing and staying home over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work to make Victorians’ journeys easier and safer as we move towards a COVID Normal world.”

In addition to crowding data, real-time location information on buses and trains will be communicated through the app.

The updated app will also allow travellers to top up their myki cards and view their balance.

New personalisation features include saving home and work locations, searching favourite journeys, stops, and stations, and improved journey planning capabilities for more predictable journeys.

The needs of blind and low-vision passengers have been incorporated in the app’s redesign, and VoiceOver and TalkBack capabilities enable the app to be fully accessible. Neil King, national manager digital access at Vision Australia said the functions would be welcomed by those with a disability.

“Public transport is vital for people with disability. The Department of Transport’s decision to consider accessibility at the outset of the design process means important public transport information is now fully available to all Victorians.”

Based on current trials and feedback further functionality may be added to the app in the future.

Budget should target new projects and upgrades: ARA

New projects and upgrades to existing technology should be considered for funding as part of the federal budget, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Caroline Wilkie has said.

With the budget to be handed down on October 6 and early announcements already coming out, Wilkie said that rail was ready to contribute to Australia’s economic recovery.

“There is a significant pipeline of rail investment that could be fast tracked to generate more jobs and opportunity to support our economic recovery,” said Wilkie.

“This is work that will make a difference right now while leaving a lasting legacy for the cities and towns that benefit from new rail projects.”

A number of rail projects are awaiting federal funding to take the next step. The Melbourne Airport Rail Link will proceed once final funding from the federal government confirmed, as can the resumption of the Murray Basin Rail Project, with a business case sitting with Canberra.

In addition to new construction, funding for technology upgrades such as the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s Advanced Train Management System, would provide long term benefits. Infrastructure upgrades such as level crossing removals are another way the federal government’s funding to rail would conitrbute to wider economic outcomes.

“At a time where we desperately need more people in jobs and more certainty for those rebounding from the economic hardships of the pandemic, we need to see more projects started sooner to build the country back up again,” said Wilkie.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack has indicated that major infrastructure projects will be part of the 2020 budget, however no particular projects have been tipped yet. The federal government has indicated that money allocated to the states for infrastructure will be needed to be spent quickly and may be a condition of further funding.

Next generation height and slew limiters ensure safety in the rail corridor

The new Sentinel Safety product range from PRM Engineering Services includes the latest generation Height and Slew Limiters to allow safe operation around powerlines and within confined spaces. Already in use by rail operators around Australia, the Sentinel Height & Slew range of products can be configured for height only, slew only or height and slew operation to suit your machine or site requirements.

The Sentinel Height and Slew limiters are perfect for the safe operation of excavators, loaders, skid steers and backhoes when working under overhead powerlines, in and around bridges and inside tunnels and can be installed on new and old machines alike. The Sentinel Height and Slew limiters have also been designed with rail operators in mind, with rail specific systems that meet the machine safety requirements of multiple rail authorities.

The Sentinel Height and Slew limiters have been used by rail authorities Australia wide for a several years and can be retrofitted to any machine with articulated booms.  Based on these years of experience PRM Engineering Services has developed several features such as predictive height stopping to prevent overshoot, fail to safe motion stop valving, blade and offset boom stops to ensure the operator cannot inadvertently go over height or slew limits and optional password protected menus for supervisor restricted control of limiter related settings.

PRM has also recently released two new optional features; HV Powerline Detection and Automatic Attachment Recognition. By combining the functionality of our widely used Sentinel Height and Slew limiters with a patented Sentinel HV Aerial Module, the system can ensure safe operation around powerlines from the moment the machine is turned on. The system prevents the machine moving within the exclusion zone around powerlines and motion-cut valving prevents the machine from moving closer while allowing the operator to direct the machine away from the electricity source.

Automatic attachment recognition allows the system to recognise up to seven attachments and automatically adjust height settings for the system without operator input. Automatic attachment recognition reduces the risk of incorrect attachment selection and can be used with or without supervisor approval as required.

Brisbane-based PRM Engineering Services are passionate about safety and have a long-standing heritage of safety system design and installation since 2002. With experience in the rail and earthmoving industries, PRM Engineering Services have become integrators and developers of a number of unique safety and control systems that meet customer requirements. These projects have ranged in scope from customisations of height or slew systems through to full redesign of control systems for on-track rail vehicles. Ongoing local support has been provided by the PRM Engineering team during the testing, installation, and operational phases of the technology.

Along with our team of talented engineers, the PRM Group of companies can also assist with the installation or modification of electrical, hydraulic, and control systems for heavy machinery, enabling PRM Engineering Services to offer end-to end innovative and customised solutions to our wide range of customers.

To find out more follow this link: https://prmengineering.com.au/.