Bukit Panjang LRT Implements AI-Powered Track Intrusion Detection System
The Bukit Panjang Light Rapid Transit (LRT) network in Singapore has introduced a new safety feature that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance track incident response. Transport operator SMRT has installed cameras equipped with AI capabilities across all 13 stations of the LRT network. The new system, called iSafe, provides real-time detection alerts for track intrusions and monitors commuters who approach the platform edge too closely.
The iSafe system acts as an additional layer of security for the unmanned LRT stations. It works in conjunction with existing safety measures such as warning signs and announcements. When someone loiters in the designated “Keep Clear” section, the system sends an alert to the Operations Control Centre (OCC). Control center staff can then remotely play an announcement to remind commuters to stay behind the yellow line.
In the event of a track intrusion, the control center receives an immediate loud alarm. The system provides a marked-up screenshot of the incident location and a live feed from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Control center staff can intervene and take necessary actions, such as cutting off power to bring the trains to a halt. Previously, personnel had to manually monitor screens at the command center to detect such incidents.
SMRT initiated the iSafe system last year and conducted multiple rounds of testing to refine its AI capabilities. The system achieved a 99.8% intrusion detection rate during rigorous testing and validation trials. SMRT Trains president Lam Sheau Kai stated that the company will continue to fine-tune the system to further enhance commuter safety.
Unlike MRT stations, LRT stops do not have platform screen doors and instead use fixed barriers, which leave gaps for the train doors. Installing platform screen doors would require additional space for power, communications, and signal control rooms, which is limited in the already compact waiting areas.
Track intrusions along the Bukit Panjang LRT line are relatively rare, with approximately three incidents reported each year. Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor emphasized the importance of passenger vigilance to minimize such incidents and improve commuter safety. Dr. Khor highlighted the need for passengers to be aware of safety features like emergency stop buttons, emergency exits, and intercoms for communication with staff.
The Bukit Panjang LRT line, Singapore’s first light rail line, has been operational since 1999. It connects residential areas in Bukit Panjang and Choa Chu Kang to the North-South and Downtown MRT lines. In addition to the iSafe feature, the network is undergoing a renewal project to upgrade trains, tracks, and signaling systems. SBS Transit, the operator of the Sengkang and Punggol LRT networks, is also testing a similar AI-powered system called VAnGuard, which can detect passengers and objects on both the tracks and platforms. The system is expected to be implemented across all 28 stations later this year after successful trials.