Monitoring on a Driverless Train Transport System
Security On and Off the Train in Kuala Lumpur
The Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit, better known by its acronym ‘KVMRT’, is a 3-line rail-based mass rapid transit system currently under construction in the Greater Kuala Lumpur region in Malaysia. This project is envisaged to radically improve and transform Kuala Lumpur’s public transportation coverage and to propel the Malaysian capital into one of the top most livable cities in the world. As part of the facilities for the envisioned suburban train line, the ambitious project plan includes the installation of a comprehensive video surveillance system that will cover various facilities such as stations, tunnels and train depots as well as the trains themselves.
Safeguarding operations and protecting passengers – these are the main tasks for which the SeeTec Cayuga video management system has already been successfully deployed by many public transportation providers all over the world. However, the KVMRT project posed some additional challenges, since the tender called not only for monitoring the train line periphery but also more than 50 trains that run on the line. This was especially important, since the trains for this next generation infrastructure project are running autonomously without a driver or other personnel on board. And finally, it was required that the system could be fully integrated into a single system framework in order to monitor all operations and facilities.
KVMRT decided to use SeeTec Cayuga video management software to implement one of the first installations worldwide where the supervision of the train stations and the other operational facilities has been realized on the same video management software platform as the surveillance within the trains. In order to achieve the relevant level of security and to accommodate the number of camera channels necessary, the Malaysian train operator licensed the SeeTec Cayuga Infinity X product package.
The installation – as it has been realized now – utilizes more than 6,000 cameras. A central Operation Control Center which is manned 24/7 handles all operational tasks and the feeds of all the cameras can be accessed there when needed. The Operations Control Center is where it all comes together because the VMS is deeply integrated with many other systems within the project: it communicates with the Train Management System to initiate automatic camera alerts and pop-ups upon various events captured by the TMS system within different parts of the train.
For example, the cameras associated with the Passenger Emergency Communication device in the train or the intercom/telephone system in the station automatically deliver video upon activation to help assess the situation. A dedicated Security Control Center monitors all stations and parking lots across the whole line. And finally, each station also has its own security and operational center to access all relevant security and operational info for the specific location.
Almost half of the camera channels are used for monitoring the trains which have been equipped with 42 cameras each. The other channels are used to safeguard the two train depots, the 31 stations and the surrounding facilities that make up the train line. Some camera feeds run through the SeeTec Analytics Server 3D in order to automatically detect unwanted access. This includes, for example, protection of the portal areas and the night entrances at every station.
System installation in the trains posed some special challenges: the control and recording systems had to be designed to withstand vibrations and other demanding conditions within the train. At the same time, on-demand, on-line remote surveillance had to be ensured. The system had to be configured to also transfer incident data automatically to the control room wirelessly. For this task, all trains are connected via a shared WiFi (8 Mbit/s) that is used for video transmission and remote-control tasks for the autonomous operation of the trains themselves.
The open design, the fast and easy administration and the intuitive monitoring interface paired with a high level of flexibility and reliability ultimately tipped the scale and presented SeeTec Cayuga as a very good fit for video-safeguarding the train infrastructure in Kuala Lumpur. In a city where a modern public transportation system is a fairly new concept, using this video technology has shown to be pivotal in order to establish the newly-built suburban train line as a safe and convenient method of transportation.
Especially in the public space, video surveillance effectively works as a deterrent, preventing damage and vandalism, optimizing operations, safeguarding passengers and thus ultimately increasing customer satisfaction. This comprehensive video solution puts the train operating company in a unique position: an operator can follow a suspicious person with cameras – from the station entrance to the platform into the train and out again – in one single application. To this end, the video stream from the trains is transmitted over WiFi in low-res, while the stream is saved in high-res within the train to assist cooperation with authorities and to preserve evidence.
Coming into the game late and not tied by legacy, Malaysia has leapfrogged other countries and has chosen to go for a state of-the-art use of technology to reduce operating costs while delivering safety and a high level of service to its customers. In order to ease traffic congestion and increase the public transport modal share from 18 % in 2009 to a planned 40 % in 2020, the Malaysian government approved the implementation of the MRT project in December 2010. Construction for a first line to be built, stretching roughly 60 km and comprising 35 stations, commenced in July 2011 and was already fully operational by mid 2017. The line passes through the city center and serves densely populated suburban areas with a total catchment population of 1.2 million people.
Renowned companies and engineers from all parts of the world were involved in the project and the integration works were performed with partners such as Siemens, Bombardier and LG CNS. Kaj Svenningson, Vice President Business Development at SeeTec, sums up the challenges that had to be overcome for the project: “The schedule has been very tight and the prerequisites were also rather steep. But when the project came to a close and we were invited to the Operations Control Center to see for ourselves where the entire train line is being operated and overseen, I couldn’t help feeling proud for what we as SeeTec were able to accomplish for KVMRT.” Mr. Svenningson adds: “The successful learning curve we went through when implementing SeeTec Cayuga for the first operational train line will hopefully also influence any future decision on how to safeguard the two additional lines that are planned and should be operational by 2025.”