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HK Rail + Property model and new travel app come to Europe

20 February 2019
Hong Kong West Kowloon was constructed by MTR Corporation. Photo: Wpcpey
Hong Kong West Kowloon was constructed by MTR Corporation. Photo: Wpcpey


Last year, MTR Corporation signalled its clear intention to develop opportunities under its Rail + Property model with the appointment of John Robinson, a speaker at the Rail Stations and Property Summit on February 27, as Head of Property for the European business. MTR Europe already runs rail services in Sweden through MTR Nordic, and has set the tone of its ambition by launching MYHeadsapp this week, a new travel app that sends personalised public transport updates to travellers in Stockholm directly to their mobiles.

By filtering traffic information and adapting it to the journeys travellers regularly make, MyHeadsapp warns travellers when their route will be affected before they leave home, regardless of the number of changes the journey requires. The app also features a travel planner and a map view that shows exactly where a train or bus is.

MyHeadsapp works for all types of traffic in the Stockholm Public Transport Authority (SL) but has been specifically designed for those commuting by train, as commuter trains often have longer routes, fewer departures and are generally more difficult to find alternative routes for. MTR created the app using a 4,000 strong passenger survey together with in-depth analysis of travel patterns and traffic disruptions.

Jeremy Long, CEO, European Business at MTR Corporation, said: ‘At MTR we are always looking to develop innovative solutions that enhance the passenger experience. MyHeadsapp is the perfect demonstration of this and we look forward to applying what we have learned across our operations in Europe.’

The appointment of John Robinson, a Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience of delivering a wide range of property development schemes in the UK, is the latest step towards bringing Rail + Property to Europe. Mr Robinson will work under Neil Walker, Business Development Executive of the European Business at MTR Corporation. MTR is the London Crossrail operator and joint shareholder of South Western Railway.

With the value and strategic location of property above and around stations being increasingly recognised in the UK, and the Government looking for new ways to support private investment in these projects, Mr Robinson’s appointment comes at the perfect time for MTR to capitalise on the broad scale of opportunity available.

MTR has an acknowledged track record of delivering Rail + Property projects, with property developments completed at 39 stations in Hong Kong providing some 100,000 residential units and more than 2 million square metres of commercial space. MTR recently also marked the completion of its first mixed residential and commercial property development in Shenzhen in Mainland China, and celebrated the first full year of service of the South Island Line in Hong Kong, an ambitious project linking the city’s southern district to its business area.

MTR’s Rail + Property model and sustainable approach to developing real estate in and around stations was also a key reason that MTR was included in the 2017 Fortune ‘Change the World’ Top 50 list of companies making contributions to solving societal problems with smart business practices. Jeremy Long, CEO European Business, MTR Corporation said: 'Developing above and around stations often brings with it added complexity of design or construction, but we see real potential for combining our railway operations and property development expertise here in Europe and giving greater focus to this in our overall development plans.'

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