Hong Kong-based rail operating company MTR has started trialling new Integrated Speed and Position Supervision System (iSPS), which enables real-time speed monitoring of Light Rail vehicles (LRV).

Developed to increase operational safety of light rail, the monitoring system will be undergoing trials in three light rail routes of Tin Shui Wai.

The system is designed by MTR engineers by combining the technologies of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

During the operation, iSPS will transmit the position of the LRVs to the control centre by leveraging in-train GPS receivers and RFID readers, as well as RFID tags installed in track areas.

It will use mobile communications network to relay the information in real-time.

If the train nears the speed limit of the traversing section, train captains will be notified via an audio reminder from the system.

“The iSPS helps enhance not only the efficiency of LR operations but also the alertness of train captains.”

Last year, MTR received a patent for the system from the Intellectual Property Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government.

MTR West Region operations head Cheung Chi-keung said: “Serving over 500,000 passenger trips per day in Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai, LRVs run on sections of track that are shared with other road users.

“We have been working hard to enhance safety performance. The iSPS helps enhance not only the efficiency of LR operations but also the alertness of train captains. We will also continue to explore measures to enhance public awareness of railway safety.”

Besides providing real-time speed and position of the trains, the iSPS can be used for alerting the train captains to carry out platform duty, as well as issuing other notifications while passing through specific junctions and turnouts.

MTR plans to introduce the system throughout the LR network progressively from the second quarter of next year.