The China Urban Rail Transit Association released the “China Urban Rail Transit Smart Urban Rail Development Outline” in March 2020, prompting all walks of life in the industry to conduct in-depth research and active exploration of issues related to smart urban rail construction.
This article discusses some hot issues related to the construction and project implementation of smart urban rail systems in the recent industry
Rail transit at home and abroad
Development direction and goals
1.1 Foreign rail transit development goals
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the intelligence and intelligence of rail transit have gradually become the main direction of development of all countries in the world. Using modern information technology to further improve the safety level of rail transportation, significantly improve the efficiency of rail transportation organization, and optimize the quality of transportation services has become the only way for rail transportation development in all countries in the world. In this context, the rail transit industry in Germany, Britain, Japan and other countries have successively proposed digital and intelligent development strategic plans, and formulated implementation roadmaps and key tasks.
In 2011, the European Union released the “European Integrated Transport Development Roadmap” white paper, aiming to develop Europe’s current transport system into a competitive and resource-efficient transport system. The European Railway Research Advisory Committee (ERRAC) simultaneously formulated the “Rail Route 2050” plan, and proposed a high-resource-efficient, intelligent-oriented rail transit system development blueprint for 2050 (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Blueprint for the development of European rail transit system (2050)
1.2 Development goals of my country’s smart urban rail program
Recently, the China Urban Rail Transit Association (hereinafter referred to as the “China Urban Rail Transit Association”) has compiled the “China Urban Rail Transit Smart Urban Rail Development Outline” (hereinafter referred to as the “Outline”) after extensive and in-depth research in accordance with the spirit of a strong transportation country. According to the overall development goals of smart urban rail (Figure 2), in accordance with the layout structure of “1-8-1-1”, a blueprint for smart urban rail construction is laid out to create smart passenger services, smart transportation organizations, smart energy systems, Eight systems of smart train operation, smart technology and equipment, smart infrastructure, smart operation and maintenance and smart network management, establish a urban rail cloud and big data platform, and develop a set of China’s smart urban rail technology standard system. The “Outline” pointed out that the overall development goals should be achieved in stages in accordance with the two-step strategy of 2025 and 2035. The overall goal to be achieved in 2035 is: China’s urban rail industry has a world-leading level of intelligence, fully formed independent innovation capabilities, and built a world-leading smart urban rail technology system and industrial chain.
Figure 2 my country’s smart urban rail development goals
From the comparison, we can see that from the perspective of development, intelligence is a common trend in the development of rail transit in the world. In recent years, the breakthrough and integration of new technologies such as mobile Internet, big data, cloud computing, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence in the field of rail transit have become the core of a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation in countries around the world.
From the perspective of the time to achieve the goal, China’s two-step strategic goal in 2025 and 2035 is earlier than the time node of the foreign goal in 2050. By 2035, 8 out of 10 indicators of China’s smart urban rail system will be in a leading position in the world, and 2 will be among the best. The realization of China’s goals is not only earlier than that of foreign countries, but the level will also reach and most of them exceed those of foreign countries.
Although my country’s urban rail construction and operation scale currently ranks first in the world, it is necessary to truly improve the overall strength of my country’s urban rail, especially the soft power of smart manufacturing and smart operation services, and achieve the goals of my country’s smart urban rail at various stages and the development of a strong transportation country. The grand overall goal still has a long way to go. In the next 15 years, my country’s smart urban rail construction will face a series of problems such as tight time, difficulty, and diversification, which require all participants to attach great importance to it.
Through preliminary understanding and observation of actions taken by various sectors of the industry in the construction and implementation of smart urban rail in recent years, this article believes that the following aspects should be further improved at the industry level:
(1) Speed up the process of industrialization of intelligent manufacturing with independent intellectual property rights;
(2) Build an intelligent operation and maintenance system based on information technology;
(3) Establish a full life cycle quality and safety assurance system based on measurement, standards, inspection and certification, and in line with international standards;
(4) Increase investment in education, training and capacity building of various professional talent teams;
(5) Improve the cross-border integrated smart city comprehensive public transportation system.
Avoid urban rail projects
The risks of differentiation
According to statistics from the China Urban Association, from the beginning of the construction of the subway in Beijing in the 1960s to the end of 2019, 40 cities in mainland China have opened urban rails, 208 operating lines have been opened, the operating mileage is 6736.2km, and 65 urban rails The line network has been approved, 63 cities are under construction, and the planned line length under construction is 7339.4km.
Since the concept and demand of smart urban rail are new things that have only appeared in recent years, both at home and abroad are still in the initial stage of research and exploration. Judging from the existing and under-construction lines (total length of about 14000km) of urban rail in various regions, most of the projects have not studied the construction of smart urban rail in the planning, construction and operation planning stage as much as they are now. Almost all projects All are planned and constructed in accordance with the traditional operating model. Therefore, when constructing smart urban rail, the first thing we face is the smart problem of the 14,000km existing and under construction lines. The 40 cities in my country that have opened urban rails include all types of cities in the first, second and third tiers. Due to the different time periods for urban rail planning and construction in various regions (the time span is 50 years), the scale of the line network has continued to expand, project investment, engineering construction, and operation management have appeared diversified models, and the level of technical equipment and the degree of autonomy have increased year by year. Geography, humanities, economics, environmental differences and other factors in various places in Shanghai make the urban rail development history and specific implementation methods of each city have different characteristics. Even different routes in the same region or city, or different implementation stages of the same route, may adopt different modes and methods. This differentiation has had a profound impact on the construction and operation and management of urban rail in various regions, and will greatly affect the construction and implementation of smart urban rail in the future. It will bring certain risks to it and should attract the full attention of the industry. Therefore, in the practice of constructing smart urban rail, in addition to paying full attention to and reflecting the differences in the geographical environment of cities in different regions, we must also focus on the overall layout and requirements of local smart cities, the experience of construction and operation units, and the different transportation volumes of routes. The difference in levels, the connection of different line engineering stages (including the extension/renewal of existing lines and the planning and construction of new lines), and the different responsibilities of the participants due to different project investment models.
With the development of my country’s economy and the advancement of urbanization, more cities will join the ranks of urban rail construction and operation in the future. These emerging cities need to analyze and summarize the practical experience of the demonstration projects that have been carried out when constructing smart urban rail, and seek more suitable local models and methods.
In the process of constructing smart urban rail, whether it is an existing line or a newly-built line, it is strictly forbidden to copy the successful experience of other cities or other systems. Instead, it should be based on the specific conditions of the region, city, line and the characteristics of the project itself. Carry out in-depth research and adopt a personalized approach to avoid the risks caused by the differences in urban rail or project phases in various regions. At present, cities are researching and exploring ways and models suitable for the sustainable development of local smart urban rail. This has been fully demonstrated in the various smart urban rail or smart system project cases that have been launched (Figure 3). However, whether the actual effects of each case can meet the expectations still needs to be confirmed in future practical applications.
Figure 3 Cases of smart urban rail or smart system projects
Deepen the early stage of the project
Operational demand planning
When developing smart urban rail work, the first thing we face is the rationality of the basis for construction and implementation. At present, all walks of life in the industry generally believe that the purpose and purpose of building smart urban rail is to solve the shortcomings of traditional urban rail operations, that is, to effectively improve the security of urban rail network operations, and reduce operations on the basis of ensuring the healthy operation of system equipment and facilities. Cost, and improve the service efficiency and quality of urban rail in the urban public transportation system. This requires in-depth and detailed analysis of the specific work content and processes of the operation and service of the smart urban rail project; analysis of the benefits of the realization of the smart urban rail goal for the entire life cycle of the project; forecasting the increase in investment energy for the construction of smart urban rail Whether to achieve the goal of reducing labor costs, improving system safety, and improving the quality of integrated operation services. For this reason, it is necessary to deepen the planning of operational requirements in the early stage of the project to provide a reasonable basis for the construction and implementation of smart urban rail.
After decades of accumulation, my country has formed a relatively complete urban rail planning and construction system and work process. However, compared with the urban rail planning and construction concepts of advanced foreign countries or regions, my country’s planning and research on operational requirements in the early stage of the project is obviously not enough. Specifically, the design unit’s engineering project feasibility (hereinafter referred to as “engineering”) research report and preliminary design document indicators (such as passenger flow, traffic, energy, environment, facility scheme comparison and selection, and basic system composition) are mostly satisfied The basic functional requirements for the operation of urban rail projects are the primary goal, and the actual operational service requirements of specific projects are often insufficient or not targeted. The reason is that in the early stage of project implementation, the operation supervisor often fails to provide a set of complete and standardized pre-operation planning documents, so that there are many areas for improvement in the connection between project construction and operation management. To this end, the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China promulgated the “Urban Rail Transit Operation Management Regulations” (Order No. 8 of the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China 2018) in May 2018, which stipulates that “Urban Rail Transit Engineering Project Feasibility Study Report” And the preliminary design documents shall set up a special chapter on operation services.” The competent department of urban rail transit operations shall, at the stage of review and approval of the feasibility study report and preliminary design documents of urban rail transit engineering projects, have Put forward opinions on organization, operation management, operation service, operation safety, etc.”. These regulations will be conducive to the implementation of the pre-operational planning work in the engineering feasibility study and preliminary design stage.
Since the construction of smart urban rail is closely related to the needs of project operation services, in specific engineering projects, the operation supervisor must pay attention to the preliminary operation planning of the project, except for setting up operation service chapters in the engineering feasibility study report and preliminary design documents In addition, various tasks related to operational service requirements should be studied in depth and detail. This article suggests that in the work feasibility study stage, the operation supervisor should take the lead. While the design unit is carrying out the design work, it should prepare a series of detailed and standardized operation planning documents with the main line to achieve the goal of smart urban rail. The content can include (but not Limited to) Operational planning and objectives, operation service outline, system function requirements, operation mode, maintenance strategy, operation management, etc.
These documents are a detailed analysis and task breakdown of the future operational work content, clearly and quantitatively formulating specific specifications and requirements corresponding to the service level, rather than a simple description of the operational work in the industrial feasibility study report and preliminary design documents. These documents complement and support each other with the engineering research report and preliminary design documents, and jointly serve as the basis for the implementation of smart urban rail projects, thereby creating better basic conditions for the planning and implementation of smart urban rail and avoiding the goals and objectives of smart urban rail. Differences or conflicts in engineering design documents are conducive to the development of engineering construction and operation organization. This approach has achieved good results in the implementation of urban rail projects in some advanced countries.
For urban rail projects with different traffic levels (especially low and medium traffic volumes), the construction and operation experience of various cities in my country is still relatively lacking. In the practice of constructing smart urban rail, it is necessary to make better use of the advantages of smart operation and maintenance, break through the traditional model of independent and decentralized construction and management of urban rail majors, focus on operational service requirements, and use information technology to reduce engineering standards. The number of sections and system interfaces realizes the organic integration and integration of disciplines.
Incorporate throughout the project
Safety concept for the whole life cycle
Safety is always the lifeline of rail transit. In the construction and implementation of smart urban rail, a full life cycle quality and safety assurance system (that is, the reliability, availability, maintainability and safety (RAMS) work system of the rail transit system) should be established in line with international standards, and in engineering Cooperate in the construction process to carry out various tasks such as measurement, standards, inspection and testing, certification and accreditation.
Internationally, standards related to the quality and safety of electrical and electronic products are based on the “Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety Related Systems” (IEC 61508) standard issued by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The world rail transit industry currently adopts the “Rail Transit Reliability, Usability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) Specification and Verification General RAMS Process” (BS EN50126-1-2017) standard series corresponding to this standard. The national standard corresponding to this standard in my country’s rail transit industry is the “Rail Transit Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety Specifications and Examples” (GB/T 21562).
The concept of life-cycle quality and safety assurance has been implemented in rail transit projects in some advanced countries for more than 30 years and has achieved good results; however, my country has only started research and implementation in a few projects since 2003. What is gratifying is that in recent years, the understanding of the quality and safety work of the whole life cycle of the project in the urban rail industry has become deeper and deeper. Many owners and contractors have integrated the whole life cycle RAMS concept and indicator system into the smart city. This is a good start in the rail research and demonstration projects.
Urban rail quality and safety assurance mainly includes the following work contents:
(1) Project safety planning;
(2) Safety evaluation (including engineering safety pre-evaluation, special safety evaluation, safety evaluation before initial operation, safety acceptance evaluation and safety evaluation during operation);
(3) Design standards and engineering safety control technical specifications;
(4) Risk control and hidden danger investigation;
(5) Construction and operation safety monitoring;
(6) Safety certification of key equipment;
(7) Safety requirements for bidding documents;
(8) Construction safety management;
(9) Fire protection design and acceptance;
(10) Safety training and education;
(11) Public safety culture construction;
(12) Emergency management and drills.