Half of the Earth’s current population of 7 billion lives in towns and cities. Such high concentrations of people pose many challenges to transit agencies…
Integration at Operational Control Centre offers solutions for efficient city-wide mobility management in a more and more complex environment.
By 2050, according to UN forecasts, the global population will have reached 9 billion and 70 per cent of that number will live in cities. By investing in and developing transport and security infrastructure in a sustainable fashion, any city can improve their citizen’s quality of life, and become a leading global destination for business and leisure.
Transit agencies are now facing two major challenges: the necessity for greater accountability and operational efficiency in moving people, on the one hand; the quality of services of their passengers, on the other.
This has gradually generated the need for an increased level of information sharing and coordination among operational stakeholders of different areas (train supervision, traction power, fixed asset management, security), while operational requirements are more stringent.
Based on 40 years of experience in transport and security, Thales aims to pull together all the systems used to manage city operations through its smart mobility platforms. The company provides an expanding range of operational and passenger services, aiming to enhance the performance and safety of transit networks.
The range of technology solutions available today addresses the entire need for a city-wide mobility management. But they can only be effective when combined together to ensure the success of smart city planning and a smart mobility policy.
Recent advances in technology that interconnect urban systems open up new opportunities for policymakers and operators. Connected assets and the emergence of next generation technology should enable fully open and interoperable city-wide systems that provide an urban environment where citizens can travel easily using private or public transport, in cities where they feel safer, in an eco-friendlier environment.
Bringing city integration to the next stage means delivering even greater synergies by leveraging concepts such as interoperability, connectivity, and the widespread availability of data. The ability to harness the power of data through advances in data mining and closed integration shall allow operators and administrators to better plan, operationally and strategically, for the future development of the city.
Integration enables closer operation and cooperation between not only the individual road transport systems but also rail, tram, bus, parking and other service operators for multi-modal transport. Interoperable systems often materialize through a centralized operational control centre, which is made not only to supervise and manage the in-city mobility mode but also to prioritize public transport and, in specific cases, emergency services against high carbon emission vehicles.
Data flow and cyber security
The Operational Control centre (OCC) is at the heart of any transportation system. It is the place where all the information is gathered and distributed from. Millions of passengers, riding hundreds of trains, trams or buses, supported by thousands of staff rely for their safety, security and punctuality on an efficient OCC management. In case of crisis, the OCC becomes the place where decisions are made.
All collected information can be filtered and distributed to local authorities, operators, or citizens alike, through automatically generated dashboards that include global indicators, such as air quality, emissions, as well as quantifying subjective improvements such as traffic fluidity using average journey times and traffic density.
Nevertheless, cyber-attacks are an increasing reality. The damage that cyber events can pose to an operator’s profits, reputation, competitive position and even operational ability is potentially vast. A comprehensible cyber protection strategy shall be built along with the implementation of any large critical IT-based system. Along with its integrated OCC suite, Thales offers its unique expertise in cyber security to preserve the key assets of the transit agencies.
Functional coordination and decision aid
Integration enables the implementation of advanced functions between subsystems improving the overall flow of operation procedures and reducing the interactions of the operational staff. An integrated OCC facilitates the implementation of an ever larger number of processes underlying the activity of people in more complex organization. Operators can focus on new missions to improve the quality of services to passengers.
Automation of routine jobs and coordination of functions discharges operators during normal operation. They can focus on anticipation of events and incident management. Early detection through video analytics and machine learning favours reactions efficiently and in a timely manner to neutralize potential threats to avoid situations that may lead to more severe accidents.
Operators are guided in the resolution through predefined computer aided procedures. Incidents are solved faster, which increases passenger security and satisfaction. The operation becomes more resilient as it becomes less subject to human factors.
An integrated OCC also means ease of use and advanced ergonomics. Operators are no more confused by the variety of devices, such as keyboards or human machine interfaces. One mouse and one keyboard are sufficient to operate any subsystem. The look-and-feel is harmonized between the subsystems. Generic operator positions allow flexibility in dimensioning the number of operators according to context. For instance, several roles can be grouped into one or a few operator positions during non-peak hours. A single login is also sufficient for all operations following best practice access management. The rights are granted depending on the operators’ profile.
Thanks to browser/client architecture, operators and maintainers are also able to gain access via their mobile devices.
Passengers benefit from real time accurate information on waiting times at the platform, or through their personal connected devices. Thanks to the direct communication channel between the operation and passenger information systems, any delay or change is communicated immediately, without any operator intervention.
All data collected at the OCC is structured and published for processing from multiple business applications. Service quality is exponentially enhanced through real time and intuitive analysis of the network. Key performance indicators are provided to operators to complete the picture of the overall health of the system, as well as the actual journey patterns and crowd movements in certain stations.
Big data add-ons also take the strain off reporting and make analysing and designing new operational processes much easier. This also offers genuine decision making tools for any transit agency to better plan train services and dispatch staff according the number of passengers being served. On top of that it can also improve the organization of a marketing campaign and a review of fare policy to attract new passengers.
A final bonus is asset condition monitoring, which improves the maintenance of the railway. The solution constantly monitors the performance of key infrastructure assets, raises alerts and alarms when equipment is trending towards failure, enabling corrective action to be taken to avoid any service disruption. Risk of delay is mitigated thanks to prediction of fault.
An integrated OCC significantly improves the availability and the reliability of the service. Combined with a predictive maintenance module, it gives infrastructure managers the opportunity to plan timely recovery actions before a complete failure causes disruption to travelling.
Thales is a global technology leader in the Aerospace, Transport, Defense and Security markets. With 62,000 employees in 56 countries, including 22,000 researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex mission-critical requirements.
With a proven track record spanning more than 40 years in the rail industry, a detailed understanding of its customers’ activities and a broad portfolio of solutions and credentials, Thales has the expertise to meet the concerns of city authorities, with a particular focus on mobility.
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