Management & Operations

Houston light rail simulator to aid in curtailing accidents

Posted on July 1, 2004

To combat the growing number of collisions involving MetroRail, Houston's new 7.5-mile light rail system, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro) bought its first light rail simulator in April.

The simulator, built by FAAC Inc., is designed to help operators familiarize themselves with train controls and safety tactics.

Tom Greufe, Metro's director of safety and training, said MetroRail had been working with bus simulators for two years before FAAC Inc., based in Ann Arbor, Mich., approached with the idea of a light rail simulator.

MetroRail officials hope the light rail version, which train operators began using in May, will help reduce the collision rate.

More than 40 crashes have been recorded since the first rail line opened earlier this year. Most of the accidents have involved motorists turning left in front of trains.

"Our light rail system here is all street running, and we've had a number of issues with the public getting used to the fact that the train's running though intersections, and so we've had a significant number of collisions," Greufe said.

MetroRail is hoping the $490,000 simulator will turn out results similar to those of the bus simulators.

"We're seeing that our accident rate has dropped off tremendously, but we think that's more of a fact that we changed our light signaling," Greufe said. "The simulator increases our awareness, but what's really made a bigger effect is the fact that now the train is the only thing that gets the green light when it goes through the intersection."

Both trainees and current operators will be using the simulator — a carbon replica of the Siemens-built trains actually used. The computer-generated imagery represents real obstacles, and everything — signals, intersections, platforms — is a carbon copy of the real world, Greufe said.

Trainees using the simulator face stalled cars or malfunctioning signals and crossing arms, and even separately controlled virtual cars that make sudden left turns that can lead to accidents.

New operators will be trained for at least 10 hours in the simulator during an eight-week course. Existing operators will be trained for four hours in regular intervals.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Calif.'s Big Blue Bus rolls out mobile ticketing app

The program will be evaluated after a six-month period to determine whether customers feel that the app fare payment is beneficial, in addition to BBB staff determining the cost/benefit of adding the app to BBB’s suite of fare media products.

Pace mourns death of Bolton, former deputy exec. director

He passed away in the early hours of April 15, 2017, after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 69.

CATA CEO Draggoo announces plan to retire

She is currently the longest-serving transit CEO in the nation. Her career with the authority spans 43 years, 32 of them as CATA’s CEO.

FTA taps nonprofit to lead mobility-on-demand innovation project

The initiative, which will be lead by the Shared-Use Mobility Center, will focus on helping recipients of FTA’s Mobility On Demand Sandbox program funding demonstrate innovative transportation solutions in 11 cities across the U.S.

WMATA to add free Wi-Fi at 30 rail stations

If plans stay on track, nearly every Red Line station from Union Station to Medical Center will have access to free Wi-Fi and a broad section of the system’s core also should be covered by the end of the year.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close