Photo: The All-Nite Images/Flickr
In this age of cutting-edge communications technology, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is turning to the tried-and-true: radio.
Global tech and engineering company Siemens is playing a long-term role in the modernization of the MTA’s network, helping to provide real-time data on vehicle position and speed using radio technology. Its work will reduce intervals between trains as well as increase passenger capacity, system reliability and safety.
First contracted in 2015, Siemens was commissioned to install a Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) technology on the Queens Boulevard Line, one of the busiest subway lines in the NYC transit system. In fact, during peak ridership, the express line operates at 95 percent capacity.
The $156 million project brings on-boarding equipment to 305 trains, as well as corresponding visual track signals to seven of eight field locations. Passengers can receive up-to-date travel information through automated audio systems, electronic screens and mobile applications.
“We’ve seen first-hand that CBTC technology can have a significant positive impact on ridership for the New York City subway system,” said John Paljug, head of Siemens Rail Automation.
Through its work on the Queens Boulevard line, Siemens developed a set of specifications and standards for CBTC technology on the NYC subway system that will now be used in all future CBTC projects.
One consideration in the implementation of the new system is accounting for interference with existing radio operations. In response to concerns about subway safety, the NYPD recently begun roll out on its own separate radio system that lets officers on the street to communicate with their counterparts underground.
Previously, officers would “go dark” in the subway system, unable to communicate with street-level officers. Police radios will be reprogrammed to include a new radio frequency in further expansion.
Development work began on the Queens Boulevard line late last summer, and major installation is slated for mid-2017.