As more people are encouraged to use rail instead of flying or driving, train stations need new concepts designed to support higher passenger numbers, especially people who don’t use trains regularly. Moreover stations look set to be revolutionised in future by harnessing robotic and artificial intelligence technology. Hitachi is trialling this approach in Japan and Europe.
Passenger numbers are rising in line with congestion on roads, parking problems and environmental concerns. For example, a report released by the UK’s Office of Rail Regulation indicated that since 1992, the number of rail journeys has grown by 95%. And in January, the UK’s transport watchdog Transport Focus found that rail passenger satisfaction was at its lowest level for a decade due to poor punctuality, timetable disruption and strikes.
Hitachi is a leading player in this sector. Solutions are created in line with the requirements of the individual authorities and deployments involve various vendors in the company’s ecosystem.
Hitachi first trialled its robot technology with the public at Tokyo’s Haneda airport in 2017. The robot, called EMIEW3, was able to communicate in multiple languages and used artificial intelligence whilst connecting to a central computer system to gain information about what was taking place at the airport.
The concept also incorporated real-time information to personalise the passenger experience, including data being sent directly from the train to a passenger’s phone. In Copenhagen, Hitachi’s metro system changes the frequency of the service by monitoring real-time passenger numbers. The digital system can detect increases in passenger volumes, and immediately begins running more driverless trains closer together in order to cope with demand.
- A holistic approach that optimises transportation resources
- Use of advanced technology to address key issues