Tuesday , 10 December 2019

Chennai Metro: Being Digital

With BIM-based digital platform, Chennai Metro Rail will achieve enhanced construction quality, reduction in expenditures, provide a comprehensive understanding of the project design and optimised operational efficiencies

Project Management has always been a challenge in India which is evident with the visible delay in the completion of numerous mega projects. Quality and safety have also been major issues. These challenges spill over to the operation and maintenance wings of the projects, shrinking their efficiency and return on investment considerably.

Chennai Metro project, however, is set to stand apart as a differentiator in this regard with the implementation of BIM (Building Information Modeling) digital project management platform.

Speaking exclusively to TrafficInfraTech, Pankaj Kumar Bansal, Managing Director, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) says, “This platform integrates the benefits of construction design software and project management software from other tech giants, thus allowing a 3-Dimensional view of the project in near-time. The combined ability of these multiple technology products integrated into a single digital project management platform has played a decisive role in ensuring project delivery timelines and cutting upfront expenditures.”

All the partners of Chennai Metro, including general consultants, detailed design consultants (DDC) and contractors have a mandate to use this digital platform. Bansal claims that the Chennai Metro project stands as an ideal specimen, revealing unparalleled benefits which mega projects can reap with the early implementation of cutting-edge technology platforms in their bidding phase. The experience reflects that projects of big magnitude and large infrastructural projects take 8-10 years owing to procedural formalities and financial and technical requirements which are processed in a methodical fashion. The introduction of BIM for infrastructure projects has altogether transformed this trend, with projects now meeting stringent deadlines with ease.

Green Initiatives

Chennai Metro has been advocating green energy and also protecting the green cover while minimising the carbon footprint, thereby improving efficiency in the project. CMRL has ensured that during the construction phase of the project, the number of trees being cut is kept to a minimum and to provide a balance in the ecosystem, CMRL has planted a total of 69,500 saplings in and around Chennai city from 2010 to till date. In addition to this, CMRL has adopted the Miyawaki technique, through which a manmade forest was created in CMRL admin building campus and Shenoy Nagar Park. This method of afforestation is unique in the sense that it utilises only 1/10th land area equivalent to forest compared to the conventional method.

The digital platform will capacitate the Chennai Metro project thereby achieving enhanced construction quality, reduction in expenditures related to construction and providing a comprehensive understanding of the project design and optimised operational efficiencies

Pankaj Kumar Bansal

Explains Bansal, “This man-made forest improves the ecology and balances the surrounding environmental conditions. This will lead to improved oxygen production, as well as absorbing more carbon dioxide, and making the environment clean especially in the metropolitan cities.”

With this technique, CMRL has planted 45 varieties of indigenous species. The total area used for creating this forest area is 432sqmt only. The total number of plants accommodated is 1,280.

So far CMRL has installed 5.2 MW capacity of solar power plants in stations and Koyambedu depot. “We have planned to commission solar power plants up to 8 MW by the end of 2019. After 8 MW plant is commissioned, 1,16,80,000 units will be generated per year and cost would be saved up to Rs 2.54Cr per year towards energy cost and carbon emission shall be reduced up to 11,587 tonnes per year.”

Digitising the Metro

Bansal reveals that CMRL is in the process of upgrading the existing automatic gates to accept Q.R code tickets from mobile phones and accept payments from NCMC (National Common Mobility Card) from NPCI along with the account-based ticketing to enable passengers to use their contactless bank cards. It will enhance the digital adoption of the ticketing in the overall Metro system. CMRL is also the first Metro in the country that adopted the CMRL Travel Card for collection of parking fares and fares for last mile connectivity in feeder services. The feeder service is an app-based system and commuters can track feeder vehicles from the CMRL mobile app and also reserve seats from the same.

Optimising Efficiency Through ITS, Big Data

A mass transit system like Chennai Metro calls for a high level of safety on a day-to-day basis; be it the project execution or train operations. Bansal adds, “We have installed a robust signalling system conforming to (SIL-4) i.e., safety integrity level-4.”

He further explains, “The Automatic Train Control System is an integration of Automatic Train Supervision System, Automatic Train Protection System and a very complex interlocking system. Trains can run in automatic mode controlled from the operation control centre located at the admin building. Hardware and software of these systems have undergone two levels of rigorous validation process and certification to ensure the highest safety standard.”

CMRL has installed a full height platform screen doors in underground stations. These doors are synchronised with signaling system to ensure high level of safety. Apart from the aesthetic look, these doors serve two primary roles:

a) Prevent passengers from falling into the track accidentally.
b) Saves energy by effectively reducing the air-conditioning requirement.

The CMRL has also installed wireless communication system to regulate train operation and CCTV surveillance system that are monitored round the clock.

Monitoring, fault identification, localisation and rectification is effectively managed through network management systems and fault management center through an efficient asset management system. The collected data are collated, sorted, processed and used for decision making.

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