Friday, February 08, 2013

Bombardier’s TrackSafe wins innovation awards

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Bombardier Transportation has won two international innovation awards for its TrackSafe technology designed to improve safety and productivity for railway track workers. Bombardier received one of 15 Innovation Awards presented by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to companies across a wide variety of engineering and technology disciplines. The competition attracted 430 entries from 25 countries.

The IET judging panel said: “TrackSafe has the potential to have a major social impact because on a global scale it would improve both trackside worker safety and urban transportation productivity. The project has demonstrated a high degree of collaboration between industry, local operators and academia in order to gain the full benefits of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other technologies.”

TrackSafe technology also received the Altran UK Foundation Award, and was cited for fulfilling one of the main missions of the Foundation: “To promote technological innovation for human benefit.”

Bombardier developed TrackSafe in collaboration with the McMaster RFID Applications Lab at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to reduce the hazards of inspecting and repairing track and related infrastructure. TrackSafe takes advantage of RFID technology to create improved location awareness for track workers and train operators, alerting both to potential hazards. At present, Bombardier and MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) are conducting a TrackSafe demonstration project on the authority’s Green Line. The project was approved by the Federal Transit Administration following a request for proposals specifically aimed at improving right-of-way safety for rail transit workers through the innovative use of new and advanced technologies.

IET is Europe’s largest professional engineering society, “sharing and advancing knowledge to promote science, engineering and technology across the world. The IET Innovation Awards celebrate the products, technologies and processes that lead the way in engineering innovation.” Altran is “a global leader in innovation consulting. The Altran Foundation for Innovation organizes national competitions for innovative scientific projects that benefit the common good.”