Super-efficient transport systems help cities to host (and win) major cultural and sporting events
People love to get together – and there’s nothing we enjoy more than the buzz of big public events. From football tournaments to rock concerts, being in a crowd is all part of the excitement.
Big events are great for people. They are also great for cities, even countries. Hosting high-profile events attracts investment, builds reputation and pulls in millions of visitors. The biggest events are transformative: the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, for example, is expected to generate benefits worth more than €10 billion.
Ahead of the game
Efficient public transport plays a critical role in supporting major events. More to the point, it can also contribute to cities winning bids for prestigious international tournaments. For instance, London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games highlighted upgraded rail infrastructure.
In a similar vein, Doha – host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ – built a metro and tram network to move more than 18 million visitors during the tournament. Qatar, the hosting nation, highlighted its transport capacity and the direct accessibility of its stadiums in its application.
Questions about transport provision are an increasing feature in bid documentation for events of all types. On top of this, encouraging the use of public transportation at large-scale gatherings is now enshrined in international standards, notably ISO 20121:2012 Event sustainability management systems.
In short, smart, reliable, safe and high capacity public transport networks are becoming instrumental in cities securing – and supporting – major events.
How can Thales help?
Thales provides integrated, innovation-enriched solutions that boost capacity and optimise every part of the passenger journey. Our solutions are designed to meet and exceed KPIs in two key areas: train capacity and customer experience.
1. Train capacity
First and foremost, our customers want to run more trains. But just as importantly, they need a solution that satisfies rigorous performance standards when it comes to achieving benchmarks for reliability, availability and punctuality. How can these goals be achieved?
Our fully-integrated train capacity offer brings together two key elements: signalling and network supervision. Our market-leading signalling solution – Thales’ SelTrac™ CBTC (Communications-Based Train Control) – boosts capacity by up to 30% and it can be deployed on both new (greenfield) and existing (brownfield) lines.
Combining SelTrac CBTC™ with our powerful Operation Control Centres (OCCs) takes performance to the next level. The OCC provides transport operators with a bird’s eye view of their networks, with supervision tools to manage everything from train movements to passenger flows, security and energy savings.
The result is a signalling and supervision system that is more than the sum of its parts – and it allows operators to achieve all of their operational KPIs. But our solution goes even further. High-precision train control and supervision make it possible to satisfy environmental KPIs as well. These include energy savings – enabled by our Green CBTC technology – and potential reductions in airborne particulate matter, thanks to smoother driving.
2. Customer experience
Attracting and retaining passengers is a fundamental need for transport operators in cities everywhere. But big events create additional needs. One of these is catering for large numbers of first-time visitors. New passengers need extra help getting from A to B, and they want easy ways to pay for and validate their journeys.
Thales deploys a range of reliable, modular technologies to optimise customer experience KPIs. Easy ticketing is one example. Our TRANSCITY™ back office platform makes it simple for operators to manage ticketing, and quickly adapt fare products for specific events. TRANSCITY™ integrates card-centric and account-based ticketing features. And thanks to EMV in transit, citizens and visitors alike can access public transport easily using their bank cards.
Passenger information is another example of how our technology transforms journeys. Our fully-integrated solutions are one of the cornerstones of the customer experience and they provide travellers with all the information they need, any way they want it: on platforms, on trains and via mobile devices.
Reliable, real-time service information is at the core of our offer. But at Thales, we are taking passenger information a stage further – and we are using artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve this. An example is our passenger guidance solution, known as DIVA. This uses video analytics to monitor trains and platforms for signs of overcrowding. The solution provides travellers with real-time warnings to help them steer clear of busy carriages and platforms – a valuable capability when managing large post-match crowds. The same technology can also be used to detect left luggage and even intruders on the line.
Our track record
Thales consistently delivers outstanding performance in reliability, punctuality, availability, and safety. The credibility of our solutions is underlined by their measureable success, with a blend of expertise, innovation and cutting-edge technology that instils trust and gets results, right from the start. Here are some examples:
Doha – 2022 FIFA World Cup™
For the Doha Metro, Thales integrated its full range of signalling, telecommunications, supervision, security and ticketing systems – including a fully driverless CBTC system. Together, these technologies played an integral role in the successful delivery of the world’s biggest football tournament. The benefits continue to flow: in 2023 alone, the Doha Metro supported major events including Expo 2023 Doha, the Qatar Grand Prix 2023, the Geneva Motor Show and the Amir Cup 2023 – all achieved while maintaining ultra-high levels of regularity, punctuality and availability.
Dubai – Expo 2020
Thales delivered a full technology package for the extension and upgrade of the Dubai Metro Red Line, otherwise known as Route 2020. Our solution included SelTrac™ CBTC, a control centre, integrated supervision and communications, security, and ticketing. Route 2020 successfully provided services for the 25 million visitors that attended the Expo event – contributing to Dubai’s objective of being the world’s smartest city.
London – 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
London’s tube and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) were the most important modes of transport at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Thales deployed SelTrac™ CBTC for London’s Jubilee Line in readiness for the Games, cutting journey times by more than 20% and increasing capacity by 33%. More than a decade after the event, this upgrade continues to benefit millions of passengers every week.
At Thales, we are proud of the trust our customers place in us – and proud of the way that our technology is helping to build a future we can all trust.