April 6, 2009

Maryland to improve public address, CIS

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said the Board of Public Works gave its approval for the Maryland Transit Administration to begin installing new public address and customer information systems at MARC commuter rail stations across the state, using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. 

“Few things are more frustrating than having to listen to garbled announcements while waiting for your train at a station,” said Gov. O’Malley. “To create an environment where more people choose transit, we must make the experience as convenient and customer friendly as possible. This investment will help accomplish that goal while putting people to work and furthering our economic recovery.”

The $6 million project will replace the obsolete and unreliable public address system currently in use at MARC stations. The new system will interface with the existing MARC TRACKER system so passengers at the station will be able to hear and see messages regarding when the next train will arrive based on real-time information.

The new audio and electronic message signs also will be used to alert passengers of approaching trains as well as relay schedule changes, delays and important safety messages. The new system will allow the MARC Operations staff to target messages to individual stations, providing customers with more specific information than before. The upgrades will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The contract to upgrade the system was awarded to Intelect Corp. of Baltimore; a certified minority business enterprise. Construction will begin later this month.

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