Episode 3


Contributing to safer rail systems around the world


Innovation Japan


Contributing to safer rail systems around the world

Each week, 34 million people ride the Yamanote Line, which encircles Tokyo. As the trains run at 2-3 minutes intervals from early in morning till late at night, it is difficult to operate and manage the maintenance activity efficiently without interrupting train service. However, the introduction of smart maintenance using IoT technology allows the collection and analysis of enormous amounts of data from trains and rails in real time, making it possible to detect minor changes and to predict failures well in advance. As the issue of aging transport infrastructure attracts a new level of attention around the world, smart maintenance will offer a novel solution to keep infrastructure in safe condition.


Japanese railways are renowned worldwide for their high levels of reliability and safety. The Yamanote Line, a loop line around central Tokyo, which is also the world’s largest transport infrastructure used by 34 million passengers a week, is supported by the Smart Maintenance.


Atsushi Yokoyama
Executive Officer/Direcor, Technology Planning Department

Currently, we collect daily data while our trains are running, using sensors attached to the railcars.

As an example, we monitor the status of rails and power lines in real time, together with railcar equipment such as the mechanisms used to operate the doors. Analyzing the large volume of data captured enables a much more rational approach to maintenance than was previously possible.


Improving transport quality and carrying out high-quality maintenance embodied in the smart maintenance approach, will fundamentally transform railway maintenance.


We’re trialing a smart maintenance system on the Yamanote Line known as CBM, or Condition Based Maintenance, which uses the Internet of Things (IoT) technology to enable the high-frequency collection and analysis of equipment and railcar status data. It helps identify equipment weaknesses, forecast railcar failures, and efficiently carry out repairs, to make safe, reliable railway operation possible.

This approach enables us to provide safe, consistent rail service more efficiently.

We believe this technology, which is being built for the Yamanote Line, the world’s most congested rail line, can transform railway maintenance around the world.


Smart maintenance will trigger a revolution in the world’s transportation infrastructure.

This video was created in collaboration with East Japan Railway Company.