Smart Trains and Connected Urban Rail with Improved Public Transport and Inclusive Mobility

Metro lines cover only 3% of Gurugram
Image for representation.

The major problem which our developing cities are suffering from today is the lack of efficient and effective public transport system. The modern cities in India are not modern in planning in any sense. The planning lacks everywhere and can be seen in every aspect of the urban planning, designing and development. There are many problems which a new or existing city experiences today in developing nations like ours.

Enhancement of the Urban Transport System will surely result in easy access to transportation to cater to the growing needs of the residents of these cities. There are a lot more factors which may play crucial roles in the development of progressive cities for a developed India which We all have been aspiring for!

The industrial “internet of things” has had a major impact on the transportation industry, with the advent of autonomous vehicles and improved cargo management. One area that has seen less coverage is the connected railway. 
“The fact that trains operate at such high speeds through tunnels and extreme weather conditions presents real challenges when it comes to deploying IoT systems. But advances in networking have made smart trains a possibility, and one that could provide significant benefits when transporting goods, providing comfort for passengers and increasing operators’ return on investments”, says one expert.

As we see today, infrastructure is gradually being replaced by train management systems in which trains become interconnected, which may be called communication hubs. They are then so interconnected that it is easy for them to transmit data among themselves, which further helps them to manage network control centres effectively, and receiving instructions from control centres. Technology and Artificial intelligence are today playing crucial roles in the enhancement of Urban Transport Systems.

As we progress further in future, we will see a whole system being developed not only in the developed nations but also in the developing countries mainly of Asia and Africa. One of the problems which Indian Railways regularly faces is delayed arrival of trains. The derailment of trains is another big issue pertaining to the safety and security of commuters. Systems have been developed today by Engineers that can display train velocity for drivers and report speeds back to central control systems. These may reduce the chances of train accidents, and it will further lead to a sharp decline in the number of average rail accidents in any country. 

Furthermore, on-board monitoring systems are interconnected with outdoor signalling systems that can regulate train speeds or even remotely command trains to stop based on track conditions, the positions of switches, the presence of other trains on the track and other factors. This may help in protecting the trains from crashes and derailments once these technologies are brought into use.

The Technologies are being developed which will not only help in the vision of running Smart Trains, but these will also provide the efficient, effective and best way of transportation to the cities. The governments are trying to bring more infrastructural projects for providing an efficient mode of the public transport system in the cities. India is also introducing the RRTS System. RRTS is a new, dedicated, high speed, high capacity, comfortable commuter service connecting regional nodes in NCR. According to the NCRTC which is the nodal agency for the development of Delhi -Meerut- Ghaziabad RRTS project, “RRTS is different from conventional Railway as it will provide reliable, high frequency, point to point regional travel at high speed along dedicated pathway”.

Delhi- Ghaziabad – Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System is an 82.15 km long, under-construction, semi-high speed rail corridor connecting Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut. RRTS is different from the metro as it caters to passengers looking to travel a relatively long distance with fewer stops and at higher speed and this will further help in the better travel facilities to the people of Urban Centres of Trade and Commerce.

The future indeed seems to be very bright for the urban transport system. Many more Metro Projects are coming up. The concept of Bullet Train is now not unknown to India. High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of rail transport that runs significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialized rolling stock and dedicated tracks. While there is no single standard that applies worldwide, new lines in excess of 250 kilometres per hour (160 mph) and existing lines in excess of 200 kilometres per hour (120 mph) are widely considered to be high-speed.

In India, the upcoming Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train corridor will be 508 km long high-speed train corridor and will be India’s first Bullet Train corridor. It will be based on Japan’s E5 Shinkansen technology. The ambitious railway project will boast speeds of over 300 km per hour. This is the first of its kind in Indian Subcontinent. What I want to say here is that things are changing today in each and every perspective. The RRTS and High-Speed Rails are two different projects which show the progress of our country towards modernization of Urban Transport Systems.

As compared to the traditional Rail Systems, the Smart Trains are going to be of great help and use. When we compare the signalling systems, then we find that a lot more things are changing with the advancement in technologies. Signalling systems control the movement of a train by remotely adjusting train speed and braking.

More traditional signalling systems are based on radio-frequency identification along the train track, but wireless train to ground signalling is getting more and more common in both railroad and metro systems as of the trends now. The new European high-speed railroads are today equipped with European Train Control System Level 2, a signalling standard that requires constant radio communication between the train and the group.

These all changes are going to bring a lot of changes in the Public Transport Systems which will not only improve the things but will also help in inclusive mobility and economic growth. The time is set to change and we will see a new dawn of hopes and dreams when these all systems get fully developed and implemented in the Indian Transit System. The hopes will always be there as science is never at rest nor the scientific advancements. 

I am hopeful that the Indian government work for this cause and the Ministry of Railways bring rapid transformations in the Railway Sector. Although Metro Networks are using many modern technologies, it’s a time of upgrading some existing old and traditional practices. I hope we get Smart Trains and adopt these new technologies very soon in the next couple of years.

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