Singapore studies to be explored but for this

Singapore being a
densely populated country at 7,796

the citizens rely on public transportation to get to their destination as owning
private transportation are expensive in Singapore. From Singapore Government
website, 2016 public transport ridership reach a new high in 2016 with a daily
average of 3.1 million. This meant that any form of delay will result in an
inconvenience to 3.1 million people. Therefore, studies are being done and
explored to reduce the time between each train. A few examples of such studies:

Sanburn, 2017 wrote an article where the
author discusses the train traffic jam in Chicago.

Sun, et al., 2015 proposed an
optimization method to train schedules using the Lagrangian Duality theory.

Yin, et al., 2016 propose two real-time
train operation algorithms to aid existing studies which may be unfeasible in
actual operations.

There are still much more studies to be
explored but for this assignment the topic improving efficiency of boarding and
alighting train carriages through ergonomic considerations will be discussed.

1.1      Scope

This assignment
will focus on the railway aspect of public transport. It will discuss past work
done by other metros and works done by local metro.

1.2      Methodology

this assignment, the data will be gathered using journal/article references.

Assignment Structure

In chapter 1, the importance of having a good railway
service in Singapore’s dense population was briefly discussed. A few examples
of studies done were also shown in this chapter.

In chapter 2, it will give the reader a background regarding
Singapore’s railway network and how boarding and alighting train carriages affect
train service.

In chapter 3, it will dive further into improving
efficiency of boarding and alighting train carriages.


In this chapter a brief history of
Singapore’s railway network and some knowledge of the rolling stocks and
systems will be discussed.

Singapore’s first Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
line began its service on 1987. The red coloured line was given the name north south
line and the green coloured line was named East west line. After subsequent
developments, the opening of the last station for north south line and east
west line was on 10 February 1996 and 6 July 1990 respectively. A map of both
line is shown below:

Figure 1: Map of the original
railway network in the 1990’s (mapa-metro, 2010)

Today there are currently 5 lines in
service: North-South Line (Red), East West Line (Green), North East Line
(Purple), Circle Line (Yellow) and Downtown Line (Blue). The Thomson-East Coast
Line will be the 6th line which will open in the year 2019 with 3
stations and complete the line at the year 2024. The current MRT map is shown

Figure 2: Current MRT map of
Singapore as of 2018 (Singapore Government, 2017)

In 30 years, the
railway network length has double from 102.2km, 1990’s, to the current length
of 199.6km. In order to improve the accessibility in Singapore, the government
has set a target to expend the railway network to 360km by 2030 by introducing
two new lines which will cut across Singapore: Jurong Region Line and Cross
Island Line.

Figure 3: Targeted Railway map
for Singapore by 2030 (Land Transport Authority, 2017)

Not only will the
lines be expanded, Land transport authority have also set the targets for
waiting time to be no more than 5 minutes and train fleets to increase by 25%.
With these targets set, studies that may help improve the service of the
network must be explored. Therefore, for this assignment the topic of boarding
and alighting will be discussed.


Literature Review

In this chapter, an introduction of why
boarding and alighting is important is any metro system. Two articles done by
other metro regarding boarding and alighting will be discussed.

3.1      Boarding
and Alighting

The amount of time given for passengers to board
and alight is equivalent to the time for a train to stop in a station (dwell
time). Dwell time is crucial in the railway industry as it needed for train
scheduling. If the dwell time can be estimated accurately it can improve the
trains punctuality (Thoreau, et
al., 2016). By
improving the punctuality, passengers can predict the train arrival time and better
plan their journey. As mention in chapter 1, Singapore has a dense population
and ridership has being increasing over the years which make Singapore’s to
have high human density station. When delay happens, it can result to a domino
effect to the timetable. This will not only affect the passengers but also
station staff and train operators as they may have to work overtime to cover up
for the delay. Therefore, by reducing the time needed to board and alight will
reduce or allow more flexibility in factoring the dwell time for each station.

3.2      Works
done by other metros

As presented by Thoreau, et al., 2016, for
the journal of advance transportation, the team considered train design features
that will affect the boarding and alighting of passengers. In the paper, they considered
a few design factors such as: door width, type of seat, platform door and
horizontal gap. (Table 1) For their experiments, it took place in a PAMELA
facility at UCL where a mock-up train carriage with platform door was
constructed and a total of 110 participant with a mix of ages and gender, the
time taken by the passenger to board and alight will be recorded.

Table 1: Variables for the design
of experiments. (Thoreau, et al., 2016)

From the results obtained, the best design
options are: 1.7 door width, tip-up seat and 200mm horizontal gap for equal
amount of boarding and alighting. More information on other scenarios, it can
be found on Table 2.

Table 2: optimum design
obtained from the experiments. (Thoreau,
et al., 2016)

Thoreau, et al. concluded that as there are
no general agreements made on all experiment scenarios further research are
needed to better understand the delays in dwell time. The author feels that
Thoreau, et al. should include participants with mobility aids and participants
with fold-up bicycles and scooters as they are becoming common with passengers
riding the railway.

Another article by Holloway, et al., 2016,
presented the effect of vertical step height on boarding and alighting time. In
their paper, the experiments took place at the PAMELA facility in UCL with a
total of 60 participant with age group between 18 and 76. From the 60 participants
six groups based on age were formed. Most of them were assigned a piece of luggage ranging
from small suit case to large pushchairs and some were given nothing. Three
different scenarios were given for testing: no step, one step and two steps.
The results from the paper shows participants carrying luggage took
longer time as compare to those without luggage.
(Table 3) The study also shows that elderly participants are generally affected
by the number of steps but participant from a younger age group are relatively
unaffected. (Table 4)

Table 3: Mean time to board and alight for
participants with/without luggage. (Holloway, et al., 2016)

Table 4: Mean time to board and alight from
different age group. (Holloway, et al., 2016)




3.3      Works
done in Singapore Metro

Mention in Chapter 3, Section 3.1, With
Singapore having such a dense population and increase in ridership train
station platform will get denser. Therefore, Singapore has increased the number
of trains being launch on to the network to handle the current increase in capacity
and planned to increase the number of trains in the coming future. A new
signalling system was also put in place to address the issue of achieving short
waiting time in-between trains. Although having a new signalling will reduce
the time taken in-between trains, both method of procuring new trains and
signalling system does not address the dwell time taken on the stations Hence,
other than increasing the number of trains and shortening the time in between
trains Singapore’s metro looked into improving the time taken to board and
alight the trains. From their observation, passengers who were waiting for the
next train will crowd around the platform screen doors blocking passengers from
alighting hereby increasing the time taken for boarding and alighting. In order
to encourage passengers to stand at the side to allow alighting, Singapore’s
metro implemented zones outside the platform screen doors to denote waiting and
alighting. (Figure 4)





Figure 4: The red arrows indicate the zone for
passenger to wait while passenger inside are alighting. (SqfeedJournal, 2013)

These zones are placed to indicate the area
to stand while waiting for passengers to finish alighting. Although there is no
data to compare the time taken before the zones were implemented the time taken
to board and alight should decrease as this method is more efficient as
compared to passengers crowding around the platform screen doors.

These zones were so successful as a deterrent
that passengers have begun queuing in the waiting zones. As some stations were
not built to handle the amount of human traffic service ambassadors have
deployed around on all stations during peak hours to guide passengers to least
crowded area and prevent crowding near the escalators.

Figure 5: Image of passengers queuing up while
waiting for the next train (gondolaproject, 2015)





Discussion and Conclusions

Chapter 1, it introduces the challenges faced by Singapore’s railways: being a
densely populated country, increase in ridership of public transport. A few
example articles were presented to show that there are other factors that would
reduce the time taken between trains. Following in Chapter 2, A brief history
into the local railway network was presented and the plan to increase the double
network length to 360km by 2030 was also discussed in this chapter. With these
targets, other factors, other than increase the number of trains on the line,
that may improve the efficiency of trains should be explored.

In Chapter 3, a brief explanation of
boarding and alighting was discussed, and three case studies were shown. The
first case study considered train design to affect the boarding and alighting
of passengers. From their results, they concluded that no general agreements
were made as at different time of the day at different station will have a
different number of passengers. The second case study discussed whether the
vertical step height will affect the time taken to board and alight. From their
results, the increase in vertical step height did not significantly affect
younger passengers but affected elderly passengers. The last case study
implemented a zone for passengers wait while passengers inside the train finish

From these three-case study, it shows that
minor changes to train design, step height and implementing waiting zones may
potentially reduce the time taken for passengers to board and alight. These
methods may also be more cost effective as compared to increasing the number of



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