PSIM assists rail operation management and reduces costs

PSIM assists rail operation management and reduces costs

Transit passengers have simple expectations. They want to arrive at their destinations on time and safely. But given everything that can go wrong, delivering consistently high levels of service can be complicated. Service can be impacted by everything from signal failures and adverse weather conditions to mechanical failures, collisions, derailments, and even acts of terrorism.

Of course, some of these incidents are prone to happen on a more frequent basis and others are rare – but in either case, they're costly. One large rail operator in the UK estimates that each minute of service delay costs about $116. The operator manages 30,000 incidents annually, with an average duration of 20 minutes, leading to an annual cost of well over $70 million. And aside from the obvious financial costs, there are potential impacts to the rail operator's reputation as well.

 

 NICE PSIM solutions
In a rail operations environment, the vast majority of incidents are overseen by an operator in the control room. The speed at which the operator responds and how he or she responds can mean the difference between minutes or hours of delays, and in some instances life and death. Actionable, real-time information is essential.

In recent years rail networks have undergone huge infrastructure investments, adding new lines, opening more stations, and upgrading to the latest CCTV, access control, fire alarms, smoke detectors, etc., all to improve safety, security and operations. But all of these data feeds can easily overwhelm operators. PSIM solutions correlate the data for precise real-time alerting and combine relevant information into a holistic incident view, with automated adaptive response plans (pre-defined based on the rail operator's standard operating procedures) that tell the operator what to do. So regardless of their skill level or experience, operators have the confidence, awareness and capability to manage any incident better and faster.

Here's a scenario of how it might actually work. Let's say a freight-train collides with a truck at a level crossing. The crossing is manned and the person in attendance calls in the incident.

* The operator in the control room opens a ‘case' on his PSIM screen and is instantly presented with a response plan.
* The PSIM system triggers a series of cascading actions, some automatic, others instructing the operator as to the next sequence of tasks.
* The operator's console displays a GIS map of the incident location with CCTV video of the scene which the operator can pause, rewind, or monitor in real-time.
* On the video, the operator notices that the rail car is leaking and immediately pulls up a cargo manifest and learns there are hazardous materials on board. Through the PSIM solution, she's able to automatically relay this information to first responders, who can pull up video images while en route to the scene. Information is also automatically relayed to operations personnel so other trains can be diverted, avoiding further disruptions and delays.
* The system keeps track of every operator step and action taken so an incident report can be easily produced for senior management and other authorities.

This is a fictitious example for illustration. But one large rail operator has been able to quantify PSIM's impact on its operations, stating that they've been able to reduce the average incident handling time by 11 minutes. This has delivered huge operational savings, both by improving operator efficiency and by reducing service delays.

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