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Six innovative PolyU railway technology projects supported by MTR Research Funding Scheme

5 Oct 2023

Achievements Research and Innovation Office

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has received funding from the MTR Academy’s 2023 MTR Research Funding Scheme for six forward-looking research projects aimed at exploring advanced railway technology applications.

PolyU researchers from the Faculty of Construction and Environment and the Faculty of Engineering lead these innovative research projects to initiate cutting-edge technologies for the future advancement of railways. These six projects have received total funding of HK$7.25 million.

Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU, said, “PolyU has consistently demonstrated strong research capabilities in the field of smart railways, dedicating itself to providing comprehensive and practical innovative solutions for the industry. The MTR Research Funding Scheme plays a crucial role in supporting these transformative advancements. We will continue to drive innovation, delivering long-term benefits to the railway development of Hong Kong, the Nation and even on the global stage.”

The funded research projects encompass a broad spectrum of potential applications for environmental, social and governance aspects of rail operations and smart community development. Leveraging PolyU’s academic and research excellence in construction, environment and engineering, these projects develop innovative solutions for emergency evacuation, achieving sustainable development goals, noise control in railway engineering, autonomous modularised trains and fire resilience.

Launched by the MTR Academy in February 2023, the MTR Research Funding Scheme supports forward-looking research projects to explore, shape and realise the mass public transport systems of tomorrow, breach the boundaries of current solutions and thinking, and offer insights into achieving services and operational excellence for tomorrow's transport. Maximum total funding of each proposal is up to HK$1.5 million for three years.

PolyU Projects Supported by MTR Research Funding Scheme 2023

Faculty of Construction and Environment

Principal Investigator

Project Title

Project Abstract

Dr Xinyan HUANG,
Associate Professor, Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering

Intelligent Emergency Digital Twin System in Metro Station for Fire Evacuation

The proposed intelligent safety monitoring system employs cutting-edge technologies, including AIoT, computer vision and deep learning, to achieve a smart fire emergency response and evacuation.
The system can predict the dynamic flow of occupants and risk of a stampede in a fire emergency, and can provide onsite evacuation guidance through dynamic exit sign systems.
Moreover, it can recognise the status and behaviours of occupants to identify those who need immediate help near the fire incident and transfer real-time information to firefighters and rescue teams.

Dr Anthony Chun Yin YUEN,
Assistant Professor, Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering

Coupling Fire and Toxicty Predictions Using CFD-MD Simulations for Enhanced Pedestrian Movement Modelling and Fire Resilience Designs of Metro Stations

The identification of parental combustion fuel gases, which are essential for toxicity, such as the pyrolysis and combustion releases resulting from the burning of specific building and furnishing materials, are yet to be characterized.
This project will develop a new strategy to incorporate coupled and non-linear pyrolysis-combustion kinetics via Molecular Dynamics characterisation of the thermal degradation process validated by thermal gravimetry data. It considers the formation pathways and predictions of toxic chemical species and smoke/soot particulates, contributing to firefighting and egress system designs.

Dr Siu Kai LAI,
Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Development of a New Inerter-based Rail Damper to Mitigate Railway-induced Ground-borne Noise by a Physics-informed Deep Learning Framework

Using rail dampers is an effective mitigation measure to reduce the impact of structure-borne noise caused by railway vehicles. However, installation difficulty and their working performance pose limitations.
To overcome these challenges, this project proposes a new inerter-based rail damper in metamaterial structure. This design aims to enhance the force transfer characteristics of a mechanical system. In addition, a time-sequencing physics-informed neural network approach will be employed to optimise the structural design.

Faculty of Engineering

Principal Investigator

Project Title

Project Abstract

Prof Chi-yung CHUNG,
Head of Department, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Chair Professor of Power Systems Engineering

Developing an Electromagnetic Energy Harvesting System to Energize Monitoring Systems in the Hong Kong MTR System

This project aims to develop a sustainable energy supply system for wireless sensor networks (WSNs) devices by utilizing electromagnetic energy harvesting (EMEH) techniques without interfering with the operation of the railroad system. WSNs energized with the EMEH techniques will offer a long-lasting and comprehensive monitoring network, paving the way towards sustainable smart railway systems.
A cost-effective, efficient, reliable, scalable and sustainable smart solution for energizing railway monitoring and condition assessment systems is proposed.

Dr Hongbo YE,
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Planning and Operation of Future Railway System with Autonomous Modularized Trains and Virtual Coupling Signalling

This project proposes a vision of future railway systems, realised by autonomous modularised trains running under virtual coupling signalling, in order to handle the tempo-spatial variation of passenger demand.
The proposal envisages three phases: developing optimisation models and algorithms for scheduling, investigating rescheduling methods, and exploring energy-efficient trajectory planning.

Dr Jingzheng REN,
Associate Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Promoting Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) in MTR for Pursuing Sustainable Development Goals and Better Service Quality

This project aims to establish a scientific and comprehensive criteria system for performance assessment regarding ESG and sustainable development goals (SDGs).
By combining multi-criteria decision-making methods and systems dynamics, the proposed novel multi-dimensional assessment tool can incorporate the interdependences and interactions among the ESG and SDGs for identifying complex cause-effect relationships and the critical factors, and then mapping and analysing them both qualitatively and quantitatively. This new tool for performance assessment and improvement related to both ESG and SDGs can not only be used for Metro/Rail operators, but can also be implemented in other fields and in other cities.



Press Contacts

Ms Iris Lai

Manager, Research and Innovation Office

Press Contacts

Ms Hazel Cheng

Communications and Public Affairs

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