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Yarra Trams Keep Melbourne Tram Network on Track With IBM

September 17, 2013 No Comments

SOURCE: Yarra Trams

Armonk, N.Y. – 17 Sept. 2013: Yarra Trams, operator of Melbourne’s tram network, has selected IBM (NYSE:IBM) to improve day-to- day tram operations and passenger experience. The IBM software enables Yarra Trams to draw insights from the large volumes of data from its trams and infrastructure to better understand how the tram network is operating. These new insights are helping Yarra Trams increase the efficiency of their network, perform predictive maintenance and offer passengers a better, more reliable tram service.

With IBM Smarter Infrastructure technology, Yarra Trams has been able to consistently exceed its key performance measurements around tram service and punctuality. In August of this year, service delivery was at 99.13 percent and tram punctuality was at 82.63 percent.   To find out more about their story visit the IBM Smarter Planet blog: or visit an interactive graphic at: .

Melbourne’s tram system is the world’s largest with over 250 kilometers of double track and has been in operation for more than 100 years.  Eighty percent of trams intermingle with other traffic on shared road space. Every year, nearly 185 million trips are taken on the network, which takes more than 91,000 pieces of equipment to operate and includes trams ranging in age from eight to 74 years of age.  Keeping the system running smoothly and on time requires a unique combination of rapid response to service disruption, preventative and predictive maintenance of assets and frequent communication with passengers.

“Tram punctuality and service delivery are always a priority at Yarra Trams,” said Neil Roberts, Director of ICT at Yarra Trams. “Technology from IBM has allowed Yarra Trams to unlock and share information in new ways, gaining valuable insight into improving operational efficiency and enabling us to provide a world class service to passengers. Access to this important information enables operations teams to ensure our fleet regularly exceeds punctuality and service delivery goals.”

Now, 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 a centralized system that is accessible to all Yarra Trams employees and 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.

The introduction of a new tram class later in 2013 will enable even greater data collection and utilization capabilities. The 50 E-Class trams purchased by the Victorian Government will download data about the condition of the tram and tracks via Wi-Fi at tram depots.

“Yarra Trams is an industry leading example of how a business can transform, by unlocking the insights from the big data generated by their infrastructure,” said Deepak Advani, general manager Cloud & Smarter Infrastructure, IBM.  “By combining this new found intelligence with cloud and mobile technologies, they took their transformation even further, improving client satisfaction and overall performance.”

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.

In addition to improving service reliability and availability, Yarra Trams is improving communications with its passengers. Live updates about tram arrival times and service delays are shared with them using tramTRACKER®, a free mobile application for Yarra Trams’ customers. Using tramTRACKER®, a passenger can determine the arrival times of the next three trams at their stop to help avoid missing trams or easily adjust travel plans when service is re-routed or delayed.

Yarra Trams is the operating name of KDR Victoria, a partnership between French based public transport operator Keolis and Australia’s oldest rail company Downer.


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.  Maximo Mobile 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.

The IBM Smarter Infrastructure tools seamlessly integrate with technology provided by IBM Business Partners SMS and Datacom, as well as other applications used across the Yarra Trams organization.

For more information about IBM Smarter Infrastructure tools visit:


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