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

Connect Transit receives state funds, avoids shutdown

The agency announced Thursday that the payment of almost $1.9 million covers the time period of July 2016 through September 2016 and is part of a nearly $17.6 million transfer to the Downstate Public Transportation Fund.

APTA names new chief counsel

Linda C. Ford currently serves as associate administrator of the FTA's Office of Civil Rights.

Report: Public transit, cities should learn from San Francisco Muni hack

WIRED said American public transit systems, which make daily life possible for millions, are an easy target, since many are aging and underfunded, with barely enough money to keep the trains running, let alone invest in IT security upgrades.

Ill. agency reduces night service to deal with lack of state funding

The roughly $180,000 in cost savings from the night service reductions for the Springfield Mass Transit District are less than one third of what is already being done while SMTD awaits delayed payments and a clearer budget picture from the state.

U. of Minn. study finds transit does not improve health

Previous studies have found that citizens in areas with more transit options have a lower BMI because transit use also includes walking and biking, however, using BMI for that conclusion doesn’t account for commuters who may eat fast food every day or substitute buses and trains for walking from place to place.

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