Kitakyushu Urban Monorail Co., Ltd., in Japan, selects a new high-performing Allied Telesis solution.

Kitakyushu Urban Monorail connects 13 stations across a distance of 8.8km, from Kokura station to Kikugaoka station in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka, Japan. It was the first urban monorail in Japan. An average of 31,000 people use the monorail daily, including students, office workers, and visitors to the Kokura Racecourse.

challenge

When the monorail first opened, all of its service equipment, including automatic ticket gates, ticket machines, and equipment at ticket counters, was connected via an online network. However, this later developed issues, and data from service equipment was then carried using portable media devices. Later, the company adapted their stations’ security monitoring network to transmit data, but this was also problematic.

To improve the customer experience, the company introduced rechargeable smart cards and Quick Response (QR) tickets in October of 2015. With smart cards, a simple swipe at the gate is all that is required to pay and board the monorail system.

Unlike magnetic tickets, QR tickets allow passengers to pass the gate just by touching the printed QR code on the gate. We are the first in Japan to introduce the combination of rechargeable smart cards and QR tickets, which have nationwide compatibility.

Mr. Tsutomu Yanase

General Manager of the Facilities Division,

Kitakyushu Urban Monorail Co., Ltd.

All of Kitakyushu Monorail’s service equipment had to be redesigned and replaced in order to support smart cards and QR tickets. In addition, a new network was required to connect the new equipment at each station to headquarters, and facilitate highly reliable communication of ticketing data.

The monorail also wanted to centrally manage its new network, as it would be distributed across the 8.8kms and 13 stations that make up the monorail system.

solution

A highly resilient network design was employed to ensure that the electronic ticketing equipment and gates would support the thousands of daily passengers.

An Allied Telesis SwitchBlade® x908 modular core switch and x610 Series distribution switches use Virtual Chassis Stacking (VCStack™) to form a single virtual device out of multiple units. This provides high performance data transfer, and when partnered with multiple fiber connections between devices, means the network has no single point of failure for maximum uptime. Allied Telesis x210 Series switches at the edge of the network connect gate, ticketing and other system infrastructure.

The AlliedView™ Network Management System (NMS) has been employed to centrally manage the entire network.

success

The new ticket machines, automatic gates, and network equipment were all installed at the end of September 2015. In total, 40 ticket machines and 52 ticket gates were replaced across the 13 monorail stations.

Allied Telesis have met all of our needs and more. They were also very flexible in terms of maintenance and support. We are more than happy with the service and products Allied Telesis provided.

Mr. Yanase

Allied Telesis supported the new equipment rollout with additional backup equipment onsite, to ensure no downtime would be experienced during the changeover. However, the backup equipment was not needed as the switchover went extremely smoothly. Mr. Yanase praised Allied Telesis, and said “An equipment failure right after the launch would have been critical. Everything went well, but the fact that Allied Telesis had prepared backup equipment was greatly reassuring for us, as we moved to the new system which needed to instantly support many thousands of daily passengers. It alleviated our worries, and gave us great security.”

Easy to manage new network with smart cards in widespread use

Kitakyushu Monorail successfully introduced the new equipment and the shift to smart cards. On the first day of the new system, the use of smart cards was around 40%, and after only 2 weeks had already increased to 70%, making commuting on the monorail system an even easier experience.

Both the station equipment and network have been operating smoothly since the official launch on October 1st. OFE Kyushu centrally monitor and manage the network with ease thanks to Alliedview NMS.

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