Nov 30, 2017
AusRAIL Plus is the leading rail conference in Australasia. The 2017 edition was themed ‘Rail’s Digital Revolution’. Find out what happened here. By Michael Zink
AusRAIL Plus is the leading rail conference in Australasia. The 2017 edition took place in Brisbane, Australia between 21 – 23 November and was themed ‘Rail’s Digital Revolution’. With more than 400 exhibitors, over 4,500 attendees and roughly 150 speeches on five different technical streams, AusRAIL Plus lived up to its reputation of being the biggest rail event in the Southern Hemisphere.
If you could not attend, here’s a recap of what happened:
AusRAIL Plus was very well attended by industry leaders looking to understand how the digital revolution could help them get the most out of their rail assets without compromising safety. All the major Australian rail operators and agencies were present, including Queensland Rail, ARTC, Metro Trains Melbourne, Sydney Trains, V/Line, ARC Infrastructure, UGL, Downer, Keolis Downer, Aurizon, Rio Tinto, BHP and many more.
There was a sense of urgency around modernisation and digitisation. For instance, even though the use of relays for Switching control is still common, many rail operators are looking to roll over to more advanced systems as relays are becoming more difficult to find. Similarly, where simple programs like spreadsheets or manual records were once sufficient, the growth in many rail operations’ size and scope has led to increased complexity that requires more sophisticated methods of managing, storing, leveraging and analysing data.
In addition to the traditional track, rolling stock and parts suppliers, leading technology vendors were also present. The technology on exhibit ranged from new tools like laser tunnel profilers and tuned wheel dampers to software such as purpose-built asset management solutions and real-time passenger information systems.
On a personal note, I was thrilled to see how much interest there was in our enterprise asset management (EAM) solution, which we were introducing at AusRAIL for the first time. Our EAM expert from North America, Steve Hogeweide, was on hand to show rail professionals its unique features such as the role-specific user interfaces, point-and-click illustrated parts catalogue and GIS-based map views for linear assets. The positive feedback we received was most encouraging.
Our colleague from Europe, Jonas Kley, was one of the speakers at AusRAIL Plus. Jonas is the head of product management team for passenger information and ticketing solutions at Trapeze Switzerland.
Hands-free pay-as-you-go fare collection system with rapid boarding and seamless transfers
Conventional ticketing has relied on manual actions by the customer and, in areas where self-service ticket machines are not available, the rail operator’s staff. In the past, pre-purchasing public transport tickets was not possible and passengers had to buy paper tickets when they arrived at train stations or from conductors.
However, it is now possible for smartcards and smartphones to take the place of paper tickets. Thanks to the application of technologies like Bluetooth, GPS and RFID, public transport providers can now offer commuters increasingly convenient methods of fare payment: Check-In/Check-Out, Check-In/Be-Out and Be-In/Be-Out.
Be-In/Be-Out (BiBo) offers the greatest level of convenience for the best passenger experience as it does not require any user interaction. It also has the added advantage for the operator of more accurate fare payment: a trial in Poland showed that while 5% of Check-In/Check-Out ticket users failed to check out correctly, the BiBo ticket displayed 99.5% detection accuracy – without customers having to take any action.
You can find out how Trapeze’s new BiBo ticketing innovation, which allows public transport users to simply travel without thinking about tickets, works in this video.
Rail is growing and there is a very positive outlook for both freight and passenger rail across Australia. The adoption of new digital technology is accelerating as the rail industry embraces the anticipated benefits of modernisation.
Whether your focus is on the profitability of the operation, health and safety, customer experience or asset management, it is clear that we are fast running out of reasons to retain manual processes or practices in rail.