If you're like me and you grew up in a relatively small suburban city, in my case in north Texas, then most of your childhood was spent in automobiles.
But if you moved to a big city like New York or Boston, you discovered the merits of public transportation, most notably trains.
I can't remember the first train I ever rode -- I think it may have been while I was on vacation with my parents while in Missouri. I know I later remember riding the Silverton-Durango train in Colorado, a breathtaking journey.
After moving to NYC, of course, there was the MTA and the New York subway.
All these years later, only to come home to my home in Denton in north Texas to discover that WE have a train now, one that will take you all the way into Dallas. (Well, you have to change trains once, but still, you can get there from here, so to speak.)
Well, halfway around the world, in Melbourne, they have trains as well -- in this case, more particularly, trams. Yamma Trams.
And today it announced it's joining with IBM to help improve day-to-day tram operations and passenger experience, and to provide technology that will help Yamma Trams increase the efficiency of its operations, and also perform predictive maintenance.
If it ain't broke yet why not go ahead and fix it!
Melbourne's tram system is actually the world's largest, with over 250 kilometers of double track. It's been in operation for over 100 years, and 80 percent of the system's trams intermingle with other traffic on shared road space.
In terms of utilization, nearly 185 million trips are taken on the network every year. The network takes more than 91,000 pieces of equipment to operate and includes trams ranging in age from eight to seventy-five years.
As with any train or tram system, keeping the trams running smoothly and on time requires a combination of rapid response to service disruption, preventative and predictive maintenance, and frequent communication with passengers.
Using the IBM Smarter Transportation technologies, Yarra Trams can access real-time information about service disruptions, tram performance, and tram locations through sensors and new data collection tools.
Insight from data analytics is used to better maintain equipment and ensure tram service is available when and where it is most needed. The data is stored in one centralized system that is accessible to all Yarra Trams employees and where interfaces with other business processes, including procurement, customer service and human resources.
For example, an automated wheel measurement machine collects information about the condition of a tram wheel. The system collects information about the wheel's state and allows an alert to be sent to maintenance teams to ensure any necessary repairs are made before service is disrupted.
Maintenance teams log information about the repair, creating data that is analyzed and used moving forward to schedule preventative maintenance.
Yarra Trams maintenance workers remotely access work orders and receive up-to-date information about tram service on mobile tablets, enabling better management of repairs and quicker response to disruptions such as traffic delays or bad weather.
Information about equipment history, mileage and disruptions is also available remotely. After a work order is completed, maintenance workers use the tablets to log how much time was spent.
Yarra Trams is using IBM Smarter Infrastructure technology including IBM Maximo Asset Management, IBM Maximo Mobile, and IBM System X. Maximo Mobile gives users the ability to access Maximo Asset Management capabilities across a wide range of devices to gain real-time visibility into their operations and achieve greater efficiency.
Mobile Maximo complements IBM MobileFirst solutions and supports the maintenance of an organization's Smarter Infrastructure to improve customer service and improve asset performance by enabling workers who often rely on a mobile device to do their jobs.