The smart tram: Unique M2M solution in the urban transport sector

Posted: 13 February 2014 | Kapsch | No comments yet

In a joint pilot project, Kapsch CarrierCom, Bombardier, and LINZ AG LINIEN have shown for the first time how M2M communication can contribute to a significant optimization in the urban transport sector…


In a joint pilot project, Kapsch CarrierCom, Bombardier, and LINZ AG LINIEN have shown for the first time how M2M communication can contribute to a significant optimization in the urban transport sector. The solution developed by Kapsch was installed in a number of LINZ AG LINIEN trams in collaboration with the manufacturer Bombardier. Since September of the previous year, the smart trams have been continually sending around 50 system parameters to the operations control center. As a result, it is possible to implement both short- and long-term measures that contribute to a more efficient use of energy, a reduction of the operating costs, and a higher degree of comfort for the passengers. The solution has a modular design and is ready to be used by urban transport organizations in other cities and regions as well as by other means of transportation, such as buses or light rail systems.

By 2050, around 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban metropolitan areas. By then, mobility needs will have increased by 260 percent. “We need innovative traffic concepts and intelligent solutions in order to make urban centers real smart cities,” Kari Kapsch, CEO of Kapsch CarrierCom explains. “The primary objective of our solutions is to improve the operating processes and the energy utilization for the operations in order to enable significant cost savings while, at the same time, improving customer service and the performance capabilities of the urban transport systems,” Kapsch continues.

Release of 85 tons less CO2

“This solution enables us to reduce our energy requirements during ongoing operation of the 23 second generation Cityrunners by 10.2 percent, primarily by more efficient utilization of the heating systems and improved acceleration and braking performance. As a result we are generating 85 tons less CO2 per year. The savings potential for the entire vehicle fleet of LINZ AG LINIEN corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of about 300 households,” emphasizes Erich Haider, CEO of LINZ AG. In addition to a reduction in energy costs, the M2M solution also offers substantial improvements with regard to maintenance of the fleet. “We now have significantly better information about the condition of the vehicles and can carry out maintenance work in a far more targeted way than before,” says Erich Haider, the CEO of LINZ AG.

The operations manager is on board

The trams are equipped with numerous sensors. The parameters they measure are collected in a black box and transmitted to the operations control center in real time where the data are continuously analyzed. “In the intelligent trams, the operations manager is on board,” Wolfgang Leindecker, Vice President of Public Transport & M2M Kapsch CarrierCom points out. “We have developed a comprehensive solution that can be implemented very quickly and easily without a time-consuming process to integrate it into existing IT systems, let alone an adaptation of the IT infrastructure. As a result, the new implementation pays off after less than one year,” says Leindecker. The asset management platform functions as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). In addition to a multitude of individually configurable analysis options, it also offers maximum security for data management.

Expandable in many different directions: more information for passengers

The latest generation of the BOMBARDIER FLEXITY model, a 100% low-floor tram, of which more than 1,280 units have been sold worldwide, comes equipped with energy saving technologies. They measure the energy created during the braking process, which is then fed back into the grid. Furthermore, the control and instrumentation equipment enables not only data transmission to external systems but also the integration of additional sensors. The sensors in the trams can also detect the position and the occupancy of the individual tram cars (empty, half empty, full). It is therefore conceivable that, in the future, it will be possible to make this information available to passengers via apps. “Trams are electromobility in its purest form and are therefore a sustainable and cost-effective method of transportation in the urban transport sector. We have had a longstanding partnership with LINZ AG LINIEN, as evidenced by the 60 trams that are already in use. The city of Linz has been a pioneer in this respect; it demonstrates that there continues to be more potential for optimization in tram operations. There will soon be “smart cities” like this all over the globe that utilize M2M solutions for urban transport,” emphasizes Germar Wacker, Managing Director of Bombardier Transportation Austria GmbH.

Video: The Smart Tram

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