Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bombardier, MARTA team on track safety

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

Bombardier Transportation announced in Berlin Tuesday that it has joined the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) in a demonstration project to enhance the safety of trackside rail transit workers.

Bombardier said the Federal Transit Administration approved the Bombardier/MARTA project following a request for proposals "specifically aimed at improving right-of-way safety for rail transit workers, through innovative use of new and advanced technologies."

"With this project," said Bombardier, "the FTA aims to mitigate the risks of accidents for passengers and transit system workers in the U.S. According to FTA statistics, between 2003 and 2008, 53% of reported rail transit worker fatalities were right-of-way related incidents. The Bombardier/MARTA demonstration project, featuring Bombardier's leading-edge TrackSafe technology, was chosen among eight proposals submitted to the FTA."

Bombardier describes TrackSafe is a "turnkey solution that creates improved location awareness for track workers and train operators through the use of Radio Frequency Identification and other advanced technologies. TrackSafe offers an additional element of protection by providing highly relevant alerts to track workers and train operators in real time."

"Bombardier's TrackSafe solution reduces the hazards associated with track level inspections and maintenance," said Matt Byrne, vice president, Services Business Unit for Bombardier Transportation North America. "We are glad that the FTA has approved our project and are honored that MARTA has agreed to partner with Bombardier. Like us, they are strongly committed to the safety of track workers. We look forward to demonstrating the advantages of our cutting-edge TrackSafe technology."

The equipment will be installed between Ashby and Bankhead stations on MARTA's Green Line. Some preliminary work such as the installation of power and communications feeds has already begun. The demonstration project will be held later in 2012. The results will be communicated through selected industry forums.

Georgetta Gregory, MARTA's assistant general manager for Safety and Quality Assurance, said: "MARTA ranks employee and customer safety as a top priority for our system and we continually seek new technological advances to achieve that goal. We are pleased and proud to be working with Bombardier on this critically important initiative."