Technology allows trains to leave on time
The opportunity to look into the future could be valuable for air traffic controllers in public transport (ov). Their work requires them to be prepared for all possible unforeseen circumstances so that buses, streetcars, metros and trains continue to run with as little delay as possible.
But the choice of repairing or replacing maintenance-sensitive vehicles is particularly difficult because budgets are under pressure. With the help of smart technologies, such as internet of things (iot) and predictive analytics, the future is somewhat predictable.
Many cities are looking for ways to digitize and apply smart technologies to make systems more efficient, secure, sustainable and responsive to travellers’ needs. However, the playing field is complex and, especially in metropolitan areas, many balls need to be kept in the air. Not only do cities have to keep costs under control, but they also have to respond to the changing demands of travelers and comply with the latest regulations, for example in the field of safety.
Other issues that make it difficult for the sector are:
- Demographic changes
Developments in housing construction, changing demographics and commuter travel patterns require flexible planning. Transport managers also need to be aware of factors that influence passenger satisfaction, such as accessibility for the elderly.
- Vehicle fleet status
The condition of assets – whether buses, metros, streetcars or ferries – must be continuously monitored for performance problems and subjected to preventive maintenance. In addition, the lifespan of the means of transport must be a factor. Parts and components in the vehicles, such as tires or braking systems, have their own maintenance rhythm and expected service life. In addition, electronic components probably have a short lifespan and require regular updates.
If there are frequent breakdowns, travelers become frustrated and eventually look for alternatives. As soon as this affects turnover, not only the budget comes under further pressure, but also the level of the fleet. Ultimately, this escalates into a downward spiral, which must be prevented at all costs.
Public enterprises have to meet all kinds of obligations. To this end, agreements have been made about punctuality, travel information, facilities, passenger satisfaction and safety. In order to make this transparent and measurable, there is a need for advanced reporting and documentation tools.
The following technologies enable proactive public transport management:
Modern IT solutions can play a key role in monitoring the condition of the fleet and ensuring that all components continue to perform well. In addition, they can provide information and insights into the changing demands of travelers.
The following five technologies enable proactive public transport management:
Enterprise asset management (eam)
With a modern eam solution, assets can be traced and monitored, preventive maintenance can be planned and data about the services provided can be consulted. In addition, it is possible to react proactively to signs of performance problems and take action before a vehicle or component fails.
Progressive managers go one step further and develop assessments that assign scores based on condition, value and replacement costs. This enables strategic planning for capital investments and maintaining continuity of service.
Internet of things (iot)
Sensors placed in vehicles track a wide range of physical characteristics and provide early warning of potential problems. Data outside the set parameters triggers an automated response, such as scheduling a mechanic to inspect or replace a component.
Sensors can also be installed at key locations, such as bridges or highway ramps to track traffic patterns. In combination with the relevant context, such as the weather or time of day, these data can provide insight into congestion areas and when or where the itinerary needs to be adjusted.
Modern compliance and reporting tools make it easier to verify that grants are used in accordance with the agreements made. With the ability to view expenditure details, evaluate risks and monitor security standards, modern it-tools take concerns away from possible audits.
Artificial intelligence (ai)
Ai emerges in modern business intelligence (bi)-solutions to automate processes, accelerate problem response and help managers make informed decisions – decisions based on data instead of a gut feeling. Ai uses algorithms and machine learning to provide insight. Ai functionalities are embedded in modern bi- and eam solutions.
Based on ai, machine learning and data science algorithms, predictive analytics project the next likely outcome in a series. An advanced it-tool offers air traffic controllers a glimpse into the future and insights into trends. For public transport managers it offers the possibility to anticipate changes in demand and revenue.
Warehouse management system
Timely maintenance and repair of vehicle fleets requires access to tools and parts. Replacement parts must be in stock at the service center or a nearby warehouse. In addition to physically storing the parts inventory in a secure environment, the fleet manager also needs reliable supply chain insights so that a backup stock can be ordered for ‘just-in-time’ delivery.
Managers at metropolitan public transport companies face numerous challenges in this rapidly changing digital world. Not only do fleets and assets need to be maintained, but managers also need to be able to predict future demographic shifts and anticipate tomorrow’s demand.
Technology can make their work easier. From IoT solutions to predictive analytics, advanced tools help fleet managers and air traffic controllers make informed decisions based on concrete data. Upgrading IT systems now gives public transport companies a glimpse into the future so they can prepare for tomorrow’s travel needs.