MTR March 2020

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Hong Kong’s MTR makes navigating our cities smarter, more efficient, and more digital than ever






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Renowned for its efficient, reliable and tech-optimised railways, MTR is making travel smarter than ever. CEO Dr Jacob Kam tells how technology enhances integrated, streamlined and sustainable public transport


enturing into a new decade, a crucial and pertinent question in urban planning revolves around how to make our cities

smarter. A pivotal aspect of more intelligent city 04

living is public transport, ensuring residents can navigate their daily lives efficiently, reliably, and increasingly more sustainably. MTR operates Hong Kong’s railway services, and is also a key property developer and manager in the city. It additionally invests, or takes part in O&M contracts for rail services in eight other cities globally: Beijing, Hangzhou, Macao, Shenzhen, Melbourne, Sydney, Stockholm and London. In Hong Kong, the railway is the backbone of the city’s transport. Public transit is the most used mode of transport: 90% of citizens use public transport in their daily lives. Train travel is the most efficient way of moving large amounts of people through the compact city, and MTR has made social and environmental friendliness a priority.


Advanced digital technologies are enhancing MTR’s asset management and customer service. w w w. m t r. c o m . hk

Intelligence that perfects travel door to door Countries, cities and transport operators rely on Thales’ ground transportation solutions to adapt to rapid urbanisation and meet new mobility demands – locally, between cities and across national frontiers. Our expertise in signalling, communications, fare collection and cybersecurity gives people and goods the connected journey they need to move safely and efficiently. And no matter how challenging the project, we stay by your side, committed to helping you creating the digital railways of the future.

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Keep Hong Kong Moving: How Thales and MTR Corporation Drive Digitalisation of Metro Systems Thales and MTR are entering their 25th year of collaboration. Since first cooperation on the Lantau Airport Railway, MTR has trusted Thales to assist in the rapid expansion and digitalisation of its metro systems. As a central contributor to this project, Thales’ systems in the OCC have played a key role in its success. Driven by data, the multiple systems control components of the MTR ranging from power supply, electromechanical equipment, and the environment facilities within the network. This helps to ensure smooth train services and optimizes power consumption, making the network greener and more efficient while consistently providing an excellent passenger experience. Through early localisation of its Hong Kong business, Thales garnered a deep understanding of the customer requirements allowing to quickly support local needs. This has been a crucial step in building trust with local partners and establishing a long-standing and robust relationship with MTR. The partnership now focuses on digitalisation. Thales has been committed to digital technology for many years and has been supporting the MTR’s transformation by advancing the rails’ connectivity and smart capabilities. The Hong Kong MTR will soon employ Thales’ predictive maintenance facilities to anticipate technical faults in trackside equipment. Leveraging Big Data and AI, this warning system can pinpoint in advance exactly when and where equipment failure will occur, enabling corrective maintenance to correct it before its failure. This is critical to the continued improvement of services. MTR is taking its expertise in railway operations worldwide. In 2019, Thales extended the scope of its partnership with MTR to the expansion of the Central Control and Communication Systems for the Sydney Metro to City & Southwest. Thales continues to be proud partners with MTR, supporting their ambitions to provide its exemplary service both at home and abroad, and keep cities across the world moving.

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Made to move you

Digitalisation is at the heart of

“We believe that the only way to

MTR’s drive to enhance public trans-

push beyond the current high perfor-

port for the masses, says CEO Dr

mance is through better digital

Jacob Kam. Utilising smart technology

technology,” says Kam, and utilising

facilitates enhanced customer ser-

this technology in asset management

vice, improved asset management,

is an important step. “One aspect is

and a more efficient and reliable ser-

discovering how best to predict fail-

vice. MTR’s trains already run at an

ure, so that we can act on that failure

on-time performance of 99.94%, but

before it happens. This predictive

customers want better. Through its

maintenance relies on image and

ongoing digital transformation, MTR

data analytics supported by artificial

aims to enhance the reliability, effi-

intelligence and helps us to regularly

ciency and integration of their

inspect our equipment and detect

services, not only in Hong Kong but

any problem early and consistently,”

in its other global cities of operation.

Kam explains.


• On-time performance is at 99.94% • 90% of Hong Kong’s residents use public transport



Jacob Kam Dr Jacob Kam joined the Company in 1995 and had held various management positions in Operations, Projects and Mainland China and International Business Divisions. He was appointed as the CEO on 1 April 2019, and has been a Member of the Board since then. Before the CEO appointment, Dr Kam was the Operations Director between January 2011 and April 2016 and the Managing Director – Operations and Mainland Business from May 2016. As CEO, Dr Kam is responsible for all performances of the Company and its group companies both in and outside of Hong Kong. w w w. m t r. c o m . hk

Your Trusted Digitalization & Automation Experts Roctec Technology Limited was found in 1987 and is a leading solution provider and system supplier in Hong Kong while our footprint covers Asia-Pacific area. We have over 30 years of experience in implementation of large-scale data communications, multimedia, IOT and IT projects in railway & transportation industry. Over the years, we have positioned as a technology leader in delivering multimedia & communications systems, network & security solutions and various communications applications.

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AI is also used to assist with planned construction and maintenance on MTR’s railways. Using AI to optimise planning, it is possible to maximise the usage of the line when it is not in service to minimise the disruption when unavoidable planned construction or system upgrades are


Year founded

$53.9bn Revenue in HK dollars

necessary, and ensure that ongoing works do not disrupt the functional rail lines. AI-enhanced driving is a tool which goes hand-in-hand with more reliable operations. MTR’s trains already have

47,327 Number of employees

automatic operation, but sometimes the fail-safe principle will slow operations. By introducing artificial intelligence into the driving of trains,

Intelligent Inspection Robot

Big Data Studio

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“ To use public transport is, in itself, a way of making travelling more efficient and environmentally sustainable — but of course we have ongoing energy saving schemes which we invest a significant amount of money in” — Dr Jacob Kam, CEO, MTR


MTR’s state-of-the-art Operations Control Centre is at the heart of Hong Kong’s heavy rail network.

MTR will be able to mitigate this risk

meet a customer demand. Furthermore,

when every second counts in train

MTR is providing real-time service


information to their customers, such

At the heart of these applications

as when the next train is due to arrive,

of technology is the drive to improve

and plans to expand its offerings to

the customer experience. Advanced

include how crowded trains will be and

data analytics are being used by MTR

which carriages have space available.

to predict customer movements and

This real-time information is even

demands to better plan its service – in

available for very frequent services,

due course, the same technology will

Kam explains. “On many of our lines,

be used even to respond in real-time to

our train service frequency is already w w w. m t r. c o m . hk

FOR BETTER RAIL TRANSPORTATION Traffic Control Technology (“TCT”) is the most innovative and customer centric player in the rail transit industry, formed a close partnership with HK MTR – the world’s leading transit rail service provider to develop state-of-the-art systems, including big data analytics in supporting real time track side equipment performance monitoring and analysis, intelligent detection system as “the independent and additional robotic intelligent driver’s eye” to improve operation safety under manual or degraded modes.


MTR Global Brand Video CLICK TO WATCH



17 at a few minute intervals. However,

accessible on demand. By investing

our customers still want to know

its assets into the concept of MaaS,

when the next train is coming,” he

MTR is subscribing to the cohesive

says. This use of data not only allows

concept of a door-to-door transport

MTR to help its customers plan their

system, aiming to provide a “total

journeys, but also allows the opera-

solution” to its customers’ transport

tor to assess demand and improve

needs, Kam says.

availability, frequency and reliability in the long term. Reliability and maximum conveni-

In practice, this would mean that when customers need to use a variety of modes of transport — for example

ence are two of the core values of

taking a taxi to a train station, taking

Mobility as a Service (MaaS), an

an MTR train, then taking a bus to

industry-wide initiative which aims to

their final destination — MTR can

integrate various modes of transport

have a hand in arranging every aspect

into a single mobility service,

of this service to make it as consistent w w w. m t r. c o m . hk



Kone “The new Kone escalators and lifts are equipped with a digital controller to view a status and fault log for troubleshooting, and to remotely control ON/OFF to pave for smart station operation.”


Roctec “Roctec is an Information & Communications Technology solution provider for MTR. They provide Integrated Speed and Position Supervision System (iSPS) in Light Rail, Smart Tunnel for location tracking, and Infotainment & Advertising Systems.”

Traffic Control Technology Co.,Ltd “TCT provide advanced

technological alternatives to enable a wider spectrum for smart metro operation options in MTR, including the trial of a Train Intelligent Detection System on one of our metro lines.”

Hyundai Rotem “Rotem is currently working on the incorporation of a digital track inspection system onto the new FAO train for a new line, and they are also actively working on the technical proposal on automatic wheelset maintenance centre using robots.”

Siemens “There are several asset condition monitoring data analytics projects which MTR is conducting Proof of Concepts together with Siemens. These systems include Platform Screen Doors, Signalling system, Main Control System, etc.”



“OTIS has provided strong support to MTRCL in conducting studies on innovation initiatives for escalators, including Escalator Comb Object Identification, Escalator Step Vibration Monitoring and Automatic Speed Change Systems. These aim to enhance passenger safety, escalator reliability and customer service.”

“We have worked with Arup on some initial concepts of applying technologies to our Smart City initiatives, focusing on sustainability initiatives such as driverless modes of transport, use of drones and innovations in operation of shopping malls and initiatives on energy saving concepts. We are also looking at possible collaboration on applying more digital technologies for project and construction management.”

Thales “Thales started early collaboration with MTR on smart operation in pilot implementation of full automatic control in Disneyland Resort Line. They continued various provision of advanced train control systems in our network for both greenfield and brownfield application.”

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Transforming connectivity Combining our deep technical expertise with advanced digital technology, Arup helps to realise the vision for next generation urban rails that connect people and places, improve lives and enables sustainable growth.

We shape a better world |

“ Our on-time performance is already one of the highest in the world — but our customers want even better” — Dr Jacob Kam, CEO, MTR

as possible. Its analysts will gain access to enhanced user and demand data, leading to new opportunities to serve unmet demand. MTR is able to take this concept a step further, as its ventures include a property business run under the same umbrella as its railway. MTR properties, which incorporate not only railway stations but residential and commercial buildings as well as luxury, regional and neighbourhood shopping malls, “creates a better, 21

MTR has achieved financial and environmental sustainability by integrating rail and property. w w w. m t r. c o m . hk

more integrated living and travelling

together. Consolidating the supply

environment for our customers,”

chain of multiple industries, and

Kam says.

thinking macroscopically about soci-

“Theoretically, customers could

ety as a whole gives MTR an edge

travel from their home — a property

in building customer trust and retain-

managed by us, to an MTR railway,

ing loyalty across different markets.

to their office block which is man-

Naturally, the various innovations

aged by us, have lunch or meet

and initiatives are supported by a

friends in a shopping mall managed

range of partnerships. MTR works

by us,” he expands. This synergy

closely with Kone, Rotec, Beijing

not only retains custom and builds

Traffic Control Technology, Hyundai

trust within the market, but creates

Rotem, Siemens, OTIS, Thales and

an integrated society where loosely-

Arup to deliver its services efficiently

related aspects of daily life are

and sustainably by employing pio-

connected to run seamlessly

neering technology.

“ The only way to push beyond the current high performance is through better digital technology” — Dr Jacob Kam, CEO, MTR

MTR actively encourages the use

analytics to push efficiency to a new

of public transport by making the

level, MTR fulfills its mission to “Keep

process streamlined, efficient and high-

Cities Moving” with a sustainable finan-

functioning: an essential stance not

cial model, upgraded assets, and an

only as the world’s cities become more

intelligent approach to public transport.

populated, but also as a defence against unsustainable, environmentallyhazardous travel habits. Using electric trains and energy-saving schemes, reducing waste and employing data w w w. m t r. c o m . hk


MTR Corporation Limited MTR Headquarters Building Telford Plaza 33 Wai Yip Street Kowloon Bay Kowloon Hong Kong