Modern cutting-edge technologies are digitally transforming every aspect of public transportation. From collecting passenger information to instant ticketing and platform surveillance, the transportation segment has witnessed a dynamic paradigm shift.
This digital transformation has mainly revolutionized the railway networks and that too the biggest contribution has been made by the technology of Internet of Things. IoT connects the broken point of a conventional railway management system and make it more connected, secured, interoperable, analytical, and intelligent.
IoT creates a fleet management system for trains that a railway network can use to manage transportation of goods, provide a high comfort level to the passengers, and garner high return on investments.
Future of Railways:
In the time to come, the legacy railway infrastructures can be expected to be replaced by connected train management systems. These systems will convert trains into mobile interconnected hubs that will transmit and receive data among themselves and control centers. This two-way M2M communication through embedded boards and sensors will help in more efficient and quick operations of train scheduling, execution, and management.
The IoT based train transportation systems are set to offer amazing benefits to railway administrators. Let us go through them one by one:
1) Improved Efficiency of Shuttle Trains:
IoT systems allow monitoring of several parameters and diagnostics of various critical and non-critical systems of train cabins like automated doors, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, and brakes. It gives train managing personnel and loco pilots clear visibility into the performance status of a train, which helps them to ensure that all operations occur seamlessly and efficiently.
Sensors embedded in different systems of a train monitor their conditions and performance in the form of raw data. This data can be compiled via gateways and routers and sent to a cloud through a secure protocol. Cloud-hosted web applications and portals will allow users to track the status of the train and its operations in real-time based on the live data transmitted through gateways.
The data when processed via logistics, analytics, and diagnostics applications can be used for the identification of inefficiencies and anomalies. Hence, informed actions can be taken to improve the efficiency of shuttle trains and hence enhance the overall rail network.
2) Elevated Passenger Experience:
Internet of Things enables the development of new experiences for the passengers. The technology has created connected applications that customers have always expected. IoT-driven passenger information systems have been developed that help them to gain updates about train schedules, subsequent stoppages on the train route, and unexpected train changes in case of an emergency.
Moreover, infotainment systems are also being used to entertain passengers. These systems allow passengers to evade a boring journey and stay afresh with live news, weather forecasts, and video-on-demand services. The Wi-Fi-powered cabin will also help passengers to use their social media channels which will further help them to have fun during long trips.
Train companies can hence generate additional revenue by streaming content to the passengers and then showing ads for a fee.
3) Video Surveillance and Safety:
To provide users with safe traveling experiences, railway authorities are now embedding smart surveillance systems infused with AI and IoT capabilities on platforms, trains, and stations. These video recorders and security systems along with face recognition competency are being used for station observation and to record vandalism in local trains.
HD cameras also help train companies to monitor individual cars or cabins of a shuttle along with track conditions and the wearing of the components. These systems will also help emergency response teams to quickly identify the cause of disturbances and mitigate them to keep the trains moving without any additional delays. Also, these cameras can be used to determine the performance and proficiency of the drivers in real-time. The IoT based alert system can also be used to gain alerts about sudden over speeding and prolonged idling. Hence, authorities can ensure safe driving practices and boost their fuel efficiency.
4) Streamlining Operations with Advanced Analytics:
The Internet of Thingâ€™s most beneficial characteristic is its feature of advanced analytics. By collecting data from the inter-connected transportation system, a railway network can effectively control the mobility of their trains. IoT analytics system can also be used to track the flow of passengers either waiting on platforms or traveling in train coaches. Hence, based on the number of people using the railway network, operators can ensure proper scheduling of trains as per commuters' needs and demands.
Moreover, train operators can also track weather to make sure that there arenâ€™t any train delays due to sudden change in environmental conditions. The predictive weather modeling and analytics help operations a lot in estimating the climate conditions a few days, weeks, or even months down the line. Hence, they can streamline the scheduling operations and avoid service interruptions caused due to adverse weather changes.
On a Concluding Note:
Internet of Things is a breakthrough technology that allows railway networks to build quintessential inter-connected transportation systems that help them to manage their train network and provide passengers with innovative traveling experiences. IoT systems help in the creation of a reliable and safe train network that operators can use to schedule train charts and improve the efficiency of other regular operations that wasnâ€™t possible with the traditional silo-structured railway systems. Railway authorities are also using these systems to identify new revenue streams and quicken their maintenance tasks via analytics embedded features.