To better enhance security on its rail system, New Jersey Transit began aerial survey work along all of its railroad rights-of-way.
For about three weeks, NJ Transit will use LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology to map critical areas of the rail infrastructure. The survey will also help speed emergency response capabilities and augment training for railroad front-line employees.
The work is being done via a specially equipped helicopter with antennas extending from its sides. The helicopter will collect data, images and video footage along the rights-of-way. It will fly at a low-level (about 150 feet above the tracks).
The LiDAR technology is a GPS-controlled laser scan that creates a three-dimensional image of NJ Transit's rights-of-way. A digitalized electronic map video and track charts will be integrated into a Geographic Information System.
A computer-based incident area mapping system will provide train dispatchers, police and other emergency responders with maps of affected areas during emergencies. The system will also be capable of displaying the current position of affected trains on the maps.
A training simulation system will be developed to train rail personnel using computer-based video of rail lines.
The new system also streamlines management and maintenance of the rail infrastructure, specifically when track defects can be mapped and identified for repair work more effectively.