If you know something is going to happen, you can influence the outcome. So if Network Rail and train operators could predict faults on a railway line before they happen, they could step in at the root cause of the problem, and potentially limit service delays and cancellations.
It sounds a bit Sci-Fi, but it is the basis of a recent feature in Rail Technology Magazine. In the article, Professor Lukumon Oyedele assistant vice-chancellor and chair professor of enterprise and project management at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), explains i-RAMP, a potentially revolutionary approach that could help detect faults on a railway line before they happen.
I-RAMP is an IoT (Internet of things)-enabled Platform for Rail Assets Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance! It uses big data and artificial intelligence to help detect and predict faults in advance, and it uses augmented reality (AR) to assist engineers with repairs.
While train operators and Network Rail are targeted on improving services for users, technology such as this could revolutionise UK rail and the experiences, safety, and productivity of its passengers. But like many innovations with this level of importance and potential impact, testing comes first…
The current research project finishes in the second quarter of 2020, with large-scale testing planned for 2021. So this is not a quick fix. And delays and cancellations are still impacting travellers on a daily basis.
This is exactly why TTCS’s automated Delay Repay technology remains a vital part of any train operator’s customer service solution… quick and efficient compensation payments are now the norm, not the exception. And if TOCs are not providing this type of services to your passengers, they’ll be about as successful as Back to the Future III (remember that one? No, neither do we!!).