AI Success Stories

MTR Logo MTR: Engineering Works Scheduling (2010)

hk mtrc - possession/engineering works scheduling 2010

Project Summary:

  • client: Hong Kong MTR
  • application: engineering work/possession scheduling, resource allocation
  • AI technology: business rules, heuristic search, optimization


In 2007, the KCRC merged with MTR to oversee all the railway lines in Hong Kong. After the merger, MTR operates 10 heavy rail lines and 12 light rail lines, spanning 218.2km and 152 stations. In 2010, MTR decided to create one AI system to schedule and manage all engineering works for all the rail lines. This new system is an enhanced and updated version of the AI Engine deployed in 2004 for the subway system.

Our Client

Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC), manages all the railway lines in Hong Kong. In order to maintain service quality and performance, and to support various improvement and rail extension / construction projects, each week over 2,600 individual engineering works need to be performed, involving over 10,000 maintenance personnel.

Business Needs

MTR carries 5.2 million passengers on an average weekday, making it one of the busiest rail system in the world. Despite the large traffic-flow, the MTR has set for itself a very high service quality standard, consistenly delivering a 99.9% on-time rate. To ensure these standards are met, the scheduling of engineering works must be optimized so that all necessary maintenance tasks are done in a timely manner.

AI Technology

MTR is using AI to plan, schedule, and optimize their various engineering works at rail lines in Hong Kong. The AI Engine allows MTR to streamline the scheduling / rescheduling porcesses as well as optimize resource allocation to maximize the number of engineering works performed. AI is delivered as a unique cloud-based "AI as a Service" (AaaS) model, where AI services are provided via client-agnostic and rail-line agnostic REST APIs. The AI services include rule-based conflict-checking, scheduling, rescheduling, and resource optimization. The AaaS model allows AI to be easily deployed to server other rail lines through straightforward REST service calls.

Business Benefits

The new enhanced AI Engine has been in daily use to schedule and manage all engineering works for all the rail lines in Hong Kong since July 2013. All engineering works scheduled are ensured to be safe and satisfying all business and operational constraints. The schedule is also optimized so that MTR can perform more engineering works with its existing resources. In addition, valuable domain knowledge and expertise related to these regulations and guidelines are now quantified, coded and preserved within the organization, for use by anyone using the system.


  • 2014 Innovative Applications of AI Award
    The American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) awarded our AI Engine with a "2014 Innovative Applications of AI Award," in the category of "Deployed Applications." This is a prestigious international award, given to only a few companies each year.
  • 2014 IT Excellence Award
    Established in 2006, the HKICT Awards recognizes outstanding ICT inventions and applications. In 2014, the MTR, PCCW, and CityU team won the Gold and Grand Prizes in the Best Business Solution (Application) Award category with "An Integrated System for Engineering Works Management" project. The next-generation redesigned system schedules and manages all engineering works for all railways in Hong Kong. This award honors outstanding applications developed in Hong Kong that provides competitive advantages as well as exemplar use of information technology.

Press Coverages

More Info:

hk mtrc - possession/engineering works scheduling 2004

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