February 20, 2015
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FTA Awards $29 Million in Safety Grants

FTA recently awarded $29 million in grants to 13 organizations to support technologies that will help public transportation agencies improve track worker and passenger safety, better withstand natural disasters and respond more effectively to emergencies.

Ten of the organizations are APTA members; three are partnering with association members.

The grants are part of the FTA’s Innovative Safety, Resiliency and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstration.

“Safety is our highest priority at DOT and we are committed to ensuring that public transportation remains one of the safest ways to travel in the United States,” said DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These grants will help transit agencies utilize the latest, most innovative technologies available to reduce collisions, protect track workers, improve operations during emergencies and natural disasters and maintain equipment and infrastructure,” he added.

“FTA is proud to support cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to significantly improve transit safety and operations in the years ahead,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “It is critical that we continue to invest in 21st-century systems that will keep transit riders and workers safe, and offer places like New Jersey and New Orleans the tools they need to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies and natural disasters.”

The projects include:

* San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, $5 million to develop and demonstrate technologies that will help prevent accidents involving trains and track workers.

* Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, $4.2 million to install and demonstrate Bombardier’s TrackSafe system along six miles of its rail system to reduce hazards associated with track inspection, maintenance and repair.

* New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, $3.6 million to research and demonstrate an automated, data-based information collection system to measure and monitor the condition of subway railcar wheels and rail infrastructure.

* UChicago Argonne LLC in partnership with Pace Suburban Bus Service, Arlington Heights, IL, and Metra commuter rail, $2.9 million to research, develop and demonstrate a decision support tool for transit asset management that addresses all-hazards emergency response and recovery.

* Battelle Memorial Insti­tute in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, $2.7 million to research, develop and demonstrate integrated vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology to minimize transit bus collisions with automobiles and pedestrians at intersections.

* Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois in partnership with five APTA members across the nation, $2.4 million to develop and deploy prototype concrete crossties and fastening systems to increase the life cycle of critical components and help maintain rail infrastructure in a state of good repair.

* Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Burnsville, MN, $1.8 million to equip additional buses in its BRT and express bus fleets with GPS-based technology to improve safety and service in narrow shoulder lanes along congested corridors in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

* Los Angeles Metro, $1.7 million to install and test a radar-based system to detect track intrusion and alert rail operators and transit officials when people or objects are detected on the track.

* Applied Research Associates Inc. in partnership with the Sacramento Regional Transit District, $1.3 million to develop, test and demonstrate a front-end bumper design for light rail vehicles that operate in a shared right-of-way environment.
Center for Transportation and the Environment, Atlanta, approximately $1 million to develop, evaluate and plan the deployment of a Bus Exportable Power System that would allow existing public transit buses to export power using their hybrid propulsion systems.

* Portland State University in partnership with Portland’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, approximately $1 million to develop and test a transportation demand management system that uses social media and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology for emergency response and recovery.

* New Jersey Transit Corporation, $850,000 to develop a forecast and observation system that can provide real-time information on the potential risk and magnitude of flooding before and during significant storm surge events.

* City of New Orleans in partnership with the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and the University of New Orleans, $500,000 to improve the evacuation of city residents and vulnerable populations during emergencies and disasters and to identify transportation assets needed for evacuations and those currently used daily by the RTA.

Find details here.
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