SINGAPORE: Innovative technologies may be the key to making public transport more efficient.
That is at the heart of the 3rd Singapore International Transport Congress & Exhibition (SITCE), which is taking place at the World Cities Summit for the first time this year.
Jointly organised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the International Association of Public Transport, some 100 exhibitors from more than 25 countries and regions are presenting their technologies and services to improve the public transport industry.
One of the technologies on display is ST Engineering’s gateless, hands-free fare deduction system. It can use either long-range RFID or facial recognition to detect and identify a passenger walking through the gantry.
And passengers won’t have to tap a card or do much else – simply walk through the fare gantry.
Bernard Chow, senior vice president of the ST Engineering’s transportation business unit, says this technology allows rail operators to increase passenger volume by 50 per cent. The current industry standard for the speed of fare deduction is 1.5 seconds per passenger, while the gateless technology takes less than a second to do so.
It is also a system that is more user-friendly for people with mobility issues.
Other technologies on display include an unmanned vehicle that can be used to inspect rail tracks.
Currently, rail engineers have to manually inspect the tracks, which can give rise to human error. They also only have a limited amount of time to do so during the trains’ off-service hours, which means they can only complete inspection of tracks up to three stations per night.
The unmanned vehicle is able to inspect tracks between eight stations in the same amount of time. Using laser and geothermal imaging, it can also detect cracks as small as 0.3 millimetres, which would enable rail operators to perform preventive maintenance.
Mr Alan Chan, chairman of LTA, said at the opening address of SITCE, LTA emphasised long-term operational and maintenance for its railway network.
“We will work with industry partners to propose solutions that are highly maintainable, and are competitively priced on a life-cycle cost basis. We need to establish long-term relationships with our partners to develop local expertise and strengthen the partners’ local presence and capabilities,” he said.
Other countries also provided a vision of what public transport could look like in the future. Skyway Technologies Co. from Belarus presented its vision of an elevated rail system that can also run a tram beneath it.
It could reduce public transport infrastructure on the whole, and the cost of building and operating it. The system would also free up land space for other uses.