Lasers and infrared cameras explore Melbourne's tram network

30 May 2018

A tram fitted with infrared cameras, laser scanners and vibration sensors has been used to undertake the most comprehensive analysis of Melbourne's tram network infrastructure ever conducted.

Over 10 nights in May 2018, the tram captured data on 250km of double track and overhead wires, which will be used to inform planned maintenance to help to make the network more reliable.

Two video cameras and two laser scanners were pointed at the rail, while two video cameras and eight laser scanners were used to complete a profile of the overhead power wires.

Other measurements included vibrations felt through the wheel bogies, location and proximity of foliage to tram tracks and structures as detected by 3D laser scanners, and passenger comfort monitored by three gyroscopic sensors.

All of the measurements were synchronised using GPS to provide specific locations for each result.

Yarra Trams will use the data to better target planned maintenance of tracks, trams and the removal of vegetation where it's needed most.

The technology is from a German supplier, and is used by public transport operators around the world to better inform them about network conditions.

Anthea Antonio, Executive Director, Asset Performance & Projects said: "Yarra Trams is setting new standards that enable targeted investment to upgrade trams, tracks and other assets.

"This project means we'll have more data than ever before, which will be analysed by our asset management teams and result in recommendations for investment in planned maintenance."