SMRT app aims to help commuters beat the crowds at stations

The platform of Bishan MRT station at peak hour. The upcoming advanced crowd sensing system will also be linked to the SMRTConnect app to allow commuters to better plan their journeys.
The platform of Bishan MRT station at peak hour. The upcoming advanced crowd sensing system will also be linked to the SMRTConnect app to allow commuters to better plan their journeys.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Commuters will soon be able to find out how crowded MRT stations are before they even leave their homes.

An advanced crowd sensing system- to be put in place at SMRT's train stations later this year - uses data from various sources such as closed-circuit cameras as well as WiFi signals from commuters mobile devices to monitor how crowded platforms are, and how long commuters might have to wait for a train.

This information will be linked to the firm's SMRTConnect app to allow commuters to better plan their journeys.

Previously station managers would estimate how busy their stations werethrough their own observations and would inform commuters about crowds through signs and announcements.

The system is part of a digitalisation programme the rail operator has been developing as part of its efforts to prevent disruptions and respond quickly if they occur.

Other initiatives under this programme include the development of a track access management system - that automates the allocation of track access to make better use of its engineering hours - as well as a predictive decision support system that monitors various aspects of the rail system and can predict faults before they occur.

SMRT's digitalisation move is part of its efforts leading up to an upgraded maintenance operations centre, which will move from the Bishan Depot to the Kim Chuan Depot by the end of this year and be responsible for all three MRT lines SMRT currently operates - the North-South, East-West and Circle Lines.

"The adoption of these technologies will enable our people to work smarter, more productively and effectively," said SMRT chief executive officer Desmond Kuek.

He was optimistic that SMRT would be able to hit the reliability target of 1,000,000km between delays of more than five minutes ahead of the 2020 deadline set by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan last year.

He noted that the rail operator had surpassed the reliability targets set last year.

"This is testimony to the relentless efforts by our trains teams in SMRT and LTA (Land Transport Authority) to improve rail reliability," said Mr Kuek.

He will provide an update on SMRT's recent rail performance later this month.