Metro secures $1.7-million USDOT grant to test track intrusion detection system

A nice bit of good news today from Metro and the federal government. I know some readers and riders have inquired about these type of systems.

Here’s the legislative alert from Metro CEO Art Leahy:

This morning, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that our agency will receive a $1.7 million federal grant to “install and test a Platform Track Intrusion Detection System (PTIDS) at select light rail and heavy rail stations to reduce injuries, fatalities and other track intrusion incidents. The radar-based system will monitor station platforms and portions of track, and alert rail operators and our Rail Operations Center to stop trains if a person or object is detected within the track right-of-way.”

This federal grant was issued through the Innovative Safety, Resiliency, and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstration Program. We plan to test the PTIDS at select stations on our Gold (Chinatown Station), Red (Civic Center Station) and Blue (103rd Street/Watts Towers Station) rail lines. I want to extend my appreciation to the USDOT for selecting our agency to receive this rail safety grant and to our agency staff who worked diligently to submit this grant request.

5 replies

  1. Question:

    Given that automatic gate screens are in use all around the world, but particularly at the crowded stations in Taiwan and Japan, is there any particular cost benefit to developing a novel intrusion detection system vs. just building gate screens?

    • Hi;

      I don’t know the answer. I think that one issue with the gate screens is that trains/doors have to line up with them and I suppose that could be an issue down the line if the type of trains should change.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. It will be interesting to see how the intrusion sensors work out. The automated Skytrain in Vancouver has track intrusion sensors that are frequently false-alarming. I was once in a station one evening and there was a recorded announcement warning that a track intrusion had been detected and that anyone on the track was in great danger (no kidding!). There may have been a gum wrapper on the track, but nothing else I could see. Didn’t seem to affect the trains at all – we all got on, the train left, and the announcements continued blaring away. Another time, teenagers were amusing themselves by swinging their arms over the platform edge to trip the sensors.

    Maybe if we had more common sense (stay away from the platform edge) and less lawyers waiting to sue at the drop of a hat (on the tracks – ha!), these sensors and their costs wouldn’t be necessary.

  3. Has Metro Considered trying the the dense foam inserts that can keep bicycle wheels from getting stuck in light rail tracks?

    • Hi J;

      I’m unaware of Metro installing the inserts at this time — one issue being the number of grade crossings around the area. But I’ll definitely pass along your comment to the bike team here. Best,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source