May 28, 2010

Bombardier demos technology to improve track worker safety



Bombardier Transportation hosted representatives of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and other interested organizations recently in suburban Toronto to demonstrate a new technology that reduces the hazards associated with subway track inspections and repair.

The new technology, called TrackSafe, is a turnkey solution developed by Bombardier to create improved location awareness to track workers and train operators through the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other advanced technologies.

For the demonstration, the company created a simulated subway environment to finalize the configuration of TrackSafe and obtain feedback and insights from the people that will benefit from this technology.





Participating in the simulation were 75 people from the TTC, Bombardier, McMaster University, the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and various officials from government, the RFID community and related safety organizations.

According to Keith Sheardown, General Manager of Technology Solutions at Bombardier Transportation North America, the simulation was a beneficial exercise for the TTC track workers and the TrackSafe designers from Bombardier and its partners. “We conducted this simulation to ask questions and further enhance  the design. Track workers are in harm’s way every day that they go to work, and their participation in this demonstration will make TrackSafe a powerful solution that provides an enhanced layer of safety for track level employees in any subway operation.”

Mike Hardt, Vice President of Services at Bombardier Transportation North America, spoke of the safety focus at Bombardier and the need for TrackSafe. "TrackSafe gives transit workers enhanced warning, to get to a place of safety along a rail corridor as trains approach their position.”

TrackSafe uses RFID and other wireless technologies to create improved location awareness for track workers and train operators in subway operations. Bombardier began work in 2007 to reduce the hazards associated with track level inspections and maintenance. The technology currently has a “patent pending” with the U.S. Patent Office and will be demonstrated at the APTA Rail Conference to be held in Vancouver on June 6 to 9.

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