Future Mobility Ecosystem

As a result of the process of digitalisation of the economy and society it is becoming necessary to manage one’s own time effectively, living in two worlds, the real one and the virtual one, simultaneously.

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Future Mobility
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Mobility is undergoing one of the most transformational shifts of a generation, with far-reaching implications for the way people live. The future of mobility being fuelled by three key technology-driven disruptive trends: electrification of vehicles, connected & autonomous vehicles and Mobility-as-a-Service. This raises an obvious question that in what ways consumers and business seize the benefits of this mobility revolution.

Transforming the Mobility Landscape: Mobility 2030

The automotive, transport and wider mobility market is undergoing a transformational social, technological and economic shift, fundamentally changing the way people and products move. Many sectors, beyond automotive and transport, are being disrupted, with new markets emerging, existing ones converging, and others declining and possibly vanishing. New entrants and start-ups are challenging incumbents, who in turn look to leverage their experience and resources to build sustainable market positions. Amidst continued population growth, urbanisation and environmental concerns, new forms of mobility are critical to support tomorrow’s population hubs and economic activity. Today’s mobility systems suffer from congestion, inefficiency, accidents and high prices. But the future promises convenient, safe and economic mobility, with less impact to health and the environment.

Mobility transformation is fuelled by three key technology-driven disruptive trends: electrification of vehicles (EVs) and alternative powertrains, connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). Taken independently, each would significantly disrupt the ecosystem; but in combination, they should drive unprecedented change. These advances are set to replace our current vehicle-centric system with a radically more efficient, data-enabled and driverless ecosystem – with consumers at its heart. Users would be able to seamlessly transition between public, private, on-demand and scheduled modes of transport, with dynamic travel information enabling mid-journey changes.

As the mobility ecosystem evolves, its global value is forecast to grow to more than $1 trillion by 2030. At the same time, one can expect to see different business models emerging amidst an expected shifting of the value. For example, with OEMs two dominant archetypes can be observed: ‘Metalsmiths’ manufacturing ever more sophisticated hardware (i.e. vehicles), alongside a new archetype, the ‘Gridmaster’. The latter would manufacture vehicles, but also provide a platform for a variety of value-adding customer services. 

However, the roll-out could vary significantly at both a country and city level depending on degree of urbanisation, household choice, existing options, infrastructure, and of course, local policies. Government support significantly influences all three disruptive trends. It also impacts the shape and pace of development of the new ecosystem. From a private sector perspective, it is believes that change would not be driven by any one company or sector. Instead it would require unprecedented collaboration, to develop the right mobility solutions. A fast-shifting ecosystem calls for swift decisions on changes to business and operating models, partnerships and acquisitions.

Considering each of the three technology-driven disruptive trends in terms of timing, impact and implications for market participants, the evolving mobility landscape is stated as under: 

  1. The rise of on-demand mobility and MaaS : From vehicle ownership to Mobility as a Service
  2. The Revolution of connected and autonomous vehicles : Building momentum
  3. Emerging Mobility Ecosystem

Future Mobility Ecosystem in Railways : Data Driven Decision Making & Automation

Data Driven Decision making and automation in Railways is significantly gaining importance across all metro and rail systems. The most current examples of digitalisation in rail transport can be summarized as under:

  1. Connected Commuter: Digital Services for Passengers – In the last five years, Railways across the globe have made significant improvements in modelling a transparent communication with the passengers, evidenced by:
  • more informative and user-friendly websites
  • mobile applications offering real-time information about vehicles in motion and allowing for ticket purchase and issue and other functionalities
  • onboard infotainment services
  • dynamic passenger and timetable information implemented at stations and stops.

In Germany, passengers can access the internet at over 135 stations, in DB Lounges and on board ICE trains. The entire ICE fleet of DB Long Distance is equipped with fast, multi-provider WiFi technology. Passengers can use WiFi free of charge in both first-class and second-class coaches. It is also available on all ICE international trains to France, within the Netherlands and to Austria. The free ICE Portal offers an overview of up-to-date information on journey and connecting trains, as well as a wide variety of audio books and games, books, films, the news section, daily newspapers, travel & discover, and Kids’ World section. No-limit free internet access is provided in first class and a basic internet service in second class that allows passengers to network and communicate, send and receive e-mails, and stay up to date with social media. 

In Russia, business and first class passengers onboard high-speed Sapsan train service can access the internet and a portal with films, music, audio books and magazines. Additionally, the portal offers information about cultural events in both cities, a virtual tour of the train, a range of online courses and information about railways.

In India, most of the metro and railways stations have started offering free WiFi services to its passengers. Other facilities includes modern features like CCTVs with facial recognition, an emergency talk-back system, WiFi enabled infotainment system, automatic plug-door, step control etc.

In Turkey, passengers onboard the high-speed Velaro D trains can access an internet, passenger assistance and entertainment services, called AlwaysConnected. In all of the mentioned cases, infotainment services (paid or free) were first offered to passengers in higher classes, followed by economy class.

There are a number of challenges to connectivity whilst on a train: the metal body of the train weakens the signal, multiple users on the same train reduce the capacity of the network, phone towers flash past and tunnels block the signals. Researchers now have succeeded in solving the problem of low mobile internet signal by means of a technique known as frequency-selective coating of window panes. These panes are provided with an electrically conductive, transparent layer consisting of metals or metal oxides. The metallic coating of the window is vaporized along lines in a special structure by a laser. This enables radio signals in certain frequency ranges to pass through unobstructed, while radio signals at a different frequency are attenuated. 

  1. MaaS: Towards Intermodal Urban Mobility

As a result of the process of digitalisation of the economy and society it is becoming necessary to manage one’s own time effectively, living in two worlds, the real one and the virtual one, simultaneously. This is made possible by such modern mobile devices as netbooks, tablets, smartphones, voice and video devices for communication between humans and digital systems (Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Look), that have created virtual mobility. A new personality type has been named homo mobilis; it typically features a new understanding of the idea of freedom and the comfort of living, cybermentality, the need to be online continually, the need to have continuous internet access and to communicate with others using social media as well as the need for new, personalised products and services, fully tailored to one’s values, life style, emotions and personal pursuits. 

The terms nanosecond culture as well as always-on mobile have been used to describe the expectation to be able to access products and services immediately and on demand. Future concepts of mobility, such as: Mobility on Demand, Any Time Mobility, Networked Mobility, are expected to address these needs. Meanwhile, concepts of the evolution of urban mobility that have emerged in the last five years are linked to the evolution of the concept of Smart City. The so-called Smart Mobility is marked by the orientation to optimal use of the resources across different modes of transport, ensuring inter-modality. In Mobility On-Demand users are only charged for the functionality that they actually use (pay-as-you-use, pay-as-you-go). From the user’s perspective, these services mean an improvement of the flexibility and the use of resources according to the actual requirements regardless of the user’s location.

The Evolution Concept of Urban Mobility in 21st Century can be illustrated as under:

The period (2000-2050) on a time scale for every decade depicts following –

1st Decade (2000-10) – Low emission Mobility

2nd Decade (2010-20) – Sustainable mobility (Mobility 1.0)

3rd Decade (2020-30) – Smart Mobility (Mobility 2.0)

4th Decade (2030-40) – Mobility On-Demand (Mobility 3.0)

5th Decade (2040-50)- Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

Its worth mentioning that each of the new mobility models is connected, meaning that is provides instant access to the internet and ICT systems that offer real-time journey information, to plan onward journey, make reservations and purchase tickets. Such solutions, based on electronic platforms and applications, are called Mobility as a service (MAAS). It analyses a number of possible journey scenarios, using different modes and means of transport: public and private, it offers booking and ticketing services and it provides for access to locations on route that are important for the traveller, at the same time monitoring the traffic, road works, incidents and accidents on line. This application is available online through mobile devices and it allows for the selection of the mode of transport, also available in real time, following the traveller’s preferences, such as: the cost, the time, or carbon footprint left. 

  1. PMAAS: Digital services for rolling stock predictive maintenance

The use of digital data processing is revolutionizing maintenance of infrastructure and rolling stock. Based on millions of data points captured from sensors on critical train components, analytics can detect impending part defects, ensuring maintenance is only done when required, but before a defect occurs. Reliable knowledge of which parts are likely to fail in the near future allows for close to 100% availability, as faults are fixed when units are not currently in service, avoiding breakdowns. This improves the reliability of the system as the typical operational fleet reserves of 5-15% kept as back-up in the event of faults can now be reduced, thus increasing the effective capacity.

By consolidating volumes of maintenance data with business processes and IT systems and using cloud computing, manufacturers of rolling stock are now able to offer a number of new digital services, such as:

  • Fault Detection as a Service
  • Predictive Maintenance as a Service (PMaaS)
  • Simulation as a Service.

Similarly, recent developments in the field of predictive maintenance of rolling stock & infrastructure can be stated as under :

  • Remote monitoring of location and condition of all vehicles in real time
  • Remote Diagnostics
  • Root cause investigation of faults
  • Automatic data visualization
  • Algorithm for preventive fault analysis
  1. GOA4: Automation and Integration of Train Control Systems

In rail transport, the development of autonomous systems has been spectacular mainly in the area of in public transport services, such as: driverless metro lines, light rail transit (LRT), people movers, and automated guided transit (AGT). In these systems, automation refers to the process by which responsibility for operation management of trains is transferred from the driver to the train control system. Following The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard 62290-1, there are four Grades of Automation (GoA). The highest, GoA 4 describes a system upgrade in which vehicles are run fully automatically without any operating staff onboard.

Grades of Automation and Train Control Systems –

  • Partially automated – Supervised by Driver
  • Highly Automated – Reduced Driver Supervision
  • Fully Automated – System is responsible

Types of Train Operation

  • Automatic Train Protection (ATP)
  • Driver Advisory Systems (DAS)
  • Automatic Train Operation (ATO)
  • Driverless and Unattended Train Operation (DTO/UTO)

In the over 30 years since the launch of the first automated metro lines, the growth rate for driverless metro has doubled in each decade – an exponential growth that is bound to quadruple in the coming decade. Current forecasts, based on projects approved for implementation, indicate that by 2025 there will be over 2,300 km of fully automated metro lines in operation.

Apart from implementing autonomous train service on metro lines, i.e. in closed systems with short intervals between services and high frequencies, another challenge will be the introduction of Automated Train Operations (ATO) in urbanised areas for regional and cross-country trains. A combination ETCS with ATO is a promising solution for future fully-automated operation for mainline services. ETCS monitors the train’s movement to ensure it adheres to the local speed limit and its own permitted top speed. The system can be scaled up to different levels. For example, at Level 2, the required GSM-Railway radio channel enables both the train-track communication for the ETCS itself and the communication between the trackside Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) and ATO.

Technically, this means that ETCS is a train control and protection system that acts as an intermediary between the vehicle and the track to ensure railway safety and that conveys driving instructions from the track to the vehicle. The so-called balises installed on the track serve to retrieve this information along with precise positional data. ATS system coordinates train movements. ATO, on the other hand, is a control system which, like a train driver, controls acceleration and braking along with such functions as door movements, and translates the calculated energy-optimized trip profile into precise control commands to the train’s drive and braking systems. It does all this within the secure framework defined by the ETCS, which is why the system is referred to as ATO over ETCS.

The advantages when ETCS is combined with ATO are particularly through improved energy efficiency and greater line capacity. ATO shortens headways through time-optimized driving, plus it enables for precise stopping at defined positions, automatic door opening, definition of exact stopping times for the driver, and precise travel along ETCS braking curves. Aided by ATO, the train uses line data, schedule data and real-time information from the infrastructure to drive at an optimized speed profile, thus making additional energy savings.

Below mentioned are few innovation capabilities which can enable railway sector to produce value-adding products and services, and increase network capacity:

  1. Automated Train Operation
  2. Mobility as a Service
  3. Logistics on Demand
  4. More value from data
  5. Optimum energy use
  6. Service timed to the second
  7. Low cost railway
  8. Guaranteed asset health and availability
  9. Intelligent Trains
  10. Stations and smart city mobility
  11. Environmental and social sustainability
  12. Rapid and reliable R&D delivery

Data Driven Decision making or Digitalisation in Railways, as key to businesses, is now demonstrating how its use will help meet customers’ expectations, drastically improving manufacturing, operations and maintenance performance across metro and rail systems globally. Optimised rail solutions mean smart use of existing networks, i.e. maximised use and rightsizing of capacity based on demand, and of assets, i.e. maximum availability, but also return on investment, i.e. low life cycle costs. 

  1. Internet of trains: Creating value for multiple stakeholders

An example of how the concept of the Internet of Things is implemented in rail transport is the internet of trains, or The Connected Train, whereby the train’s smart sub-systems communicate data via cloud computing to the central data platform. To be able to utilise the functionality of the Internet of Trains, reliable and uninterrupted communication is necessary between three different networks: one providing the connection between the train components and the on-board controls, one used by the crew on-board (for example, VLAN-based) and one broadband mobile internet connection service offered to passengers. A prerequisite for the implementation of IoT is an operation of the GSM-R standard, a mobile internet system dedicated for rail transport and one of the two key components of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). It is expected that progress in this area will follow especially in the case of those solutions offered to rail operators and passengers that are not required to be homologated. 

Conclusion

Digital transformation fares beyond the digitations of data and processes. Instead, it involves an ongoing adaptation to changes in a turbulent environment. This creates both opportunities and threats for any industry, not less the rail industry. The challenge to be addressed in the coming years is not only a switch from electromechanical to electronic devices followed by a switch to digital components, the implementation of fully automated systems based on standard interfaces and safety certification, but first and foremost, a general change of the mindset to one allowing for sharing of resources, consolidation of business solutions and the creation of new value of rail services both within and outside rail ecosystems.

The digital challenge for railway sector is how to connect the customers, the operators, the trains and the infrastructure and transform to network effects. It is more specifically focused towards developing and upgrading data driven decision making system for railways ensuring a speedy, safe and convenient passenger and freight transport system.

In this context Indian Railways is making significant strides towards developing railway mobility as a service through its enhance network of metro, urban, semi urban, regional rapid and mass rapid transit systems. The government and railways in India is also making significant strides towards upgrading its entire rail network, operations and system using Big Data, IoT and AI. Train scheduling, controlling the speed profiles of trains, delay prediction & reduction, asset management are some of the major areas which Indian Railways is trying to automate through data driven decision making using artificial intelligence. Similarly, using complex applications with elements such as predictive models, statistical algorithms and what-if analysis powered by high-performance analytics system towards customer experience and management of applications like train scheduling, timetabling, improving security at railway stations, automatic charting, network optimization, crew management, inventory management, IRCTC ticket, catering and accommodation management through big data analytics is also a major component of Indian Railways today exemplifying strenuous efforts towards digitalization and automation of rail and urban transport system in the country involving RRTS, MRTS etc.

The world is preparing itself for a robust urban transport system amidst rapid urbanisation of cities in most of the countries exerting pressure on its public and existing transport system.  The arising problem to much extent can be solved through   development of a modern, technology enabled, automated transport system.

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