Enabling a safe return to rail travel: lessons from IRITS


Railway passenger numbers have been hit globally as a results of the Covid-19 pandemic and haven’t returned to pre-Covid ranges.

Ireland witnessed a fall in Q1 of 2021 of 85% and Greece 66% in contrast with Q1 of 2020, whereas others – together with the UK – are beginning to see virtually pre-Covid ranges of travellers.

To appeal to folks again to the railway community, business stakeholders consider that regaining belief is what’s most wanted, assuring the general public that their return to railway journey will probably be as safe as attainable.

“Enabling a safe return to railway travel” was the title of an International Railway Summit (IRITS) convention held on 23 September. Focusing on video-powered passenger safety, the webinar highlighted how know-how and using analytics can enhance railway companies, making passengers extra comfy and avoiding congestion and anti-social behaviour.

Here is what we learnt.


Engineering to restore belief

According to Madrid Metro head of services and data methods division Isaac Centellas Garcia, engineering has proved basic for coping with the Covid-19 pandemic and it’ll proceed to accomplish that as nations together with Spain return to pre-Covid life.

To protect the well being and security of each travellers and personnel in the course of the peak of the pandemic, Madrid Metro carried out a number of actions, from work from dwelling practices for a nice variety of staff to splitting the employees working within the firm’s upkeep and monitoring operations centre for services and telecommunications to keep away from pointless contact.

“We also made improvements on the app to increase the information that was provided to our customers, gathering data to optimise the flow of passengers and waiting times [as well as] providing information on in-coming trains,” defined Centellas Garcia.

To management passenger flows in stations, Madrid Metro used massive information to examine the modelling of stations’ entry circulation with the precise community circulation, getting the data on trains by means of the centralised visitors management system community, generally known as CTC, and data on passengers from the turnstiles.

“These allow us to act on the access system and passenger information system so we can limit the number of people accessing stations,” he continued. The know-how experiences passenger data circulation in actual time in order that travellers can plan the journey, because the system sends a message to passengers’ telephones, restoring belief.

“From an engineering point of view, we have to make sure that public transport networks keep on being the backbone of mobilities in cities, promoting intermodal transport systems,” he added. “We have to place our customers at the centre of our decisions, giving them transparent communication and real-time information.”


Body temperature controls

For Carlos Freire Coloma, security and safety supervisor at Spanish public firm ADIF, physique temperature controls would be the means ahead when coping with Covid-19 and attainable future pandemics.

As the corporate liable for the design of the Spanish railway community, ADIF performed a trial in Madrid’s Atocha and Barcelona’s Sants stations to see if physique temperature controls might stop passengers with a physique temperature larger than 37.5C and never sporting masks accurately from embarking on high-speed trains.

The physique temperature checks – which have an error margin of lower than 0.5 – are positioned within the high-speed trains’ foyer the place entry is restricted to high-speed passengers and railway personnel.

The system – positioned on the ground – is contactless and will be taken from a distance of three to six metres.

“Passengers with a temperature lower than 37.5C continue to security controls and, if everything checks, are allowed onto the train but passengers with a body temperature higher than 37.5C are separated from the rest and taken into for a second measurement,” mentioned Freire Coloma.

A yr and 4 million passengers later, ADIF reported 274 alerts and 14 instances of those that weren’t allowed aboard a practice.

“On the cons side, there are significant economic costs due to the human and technical resources that are required in addition to a limited functionality due to the system not being implemented in all stations,” he added.

“Focusing on the pros, the detection of possible Covid-19 cases works, and it helps prevent contagion on high-speed trains and increases passengers’ confidence to use public transportation,” Freire Coloma concluded.


Video surveillance for safety

Criminal incidents have at all times taken place on railway networks, from theft and vandalism to extra extreme ones corresponding to assaults or shootings. In the final 18 months, although, hazards have elevated as a results of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Qognify key accounts senior supervisor Frank Müller believes that as an alternative of placing a lot of private effort, the business ought to rely extra on video surveillance applied sciences that adjust to authorized necessities.

“From our point of view, it is a matter of using products and technologies that can meet the requirements of public transport companies,” mentioned Müller. “This includes features such as efficient support for operators in monitoring and researching incidents.”