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USDOT announces $29 million in grants to improve transit safety


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) yesterday unveiled 13 organizations in nine states that will receive a share of $29 million in grants through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Innovative Safety, Resiliency, and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstration program.

The grants will support the use of new technologies to help mass transit agencies improve track worker and passenger safety, better withstand natural disasters and respond more effectively to emergencies.

Rail-related projects and grant amounts include:

• $5 million to Bay Area Rapid Transit to develop and demonstrate technologies designed to improve track worker safety and help prevent accidents by alerting workers about the presence of an approaching train and stopping a train if the workers don't acknowledge the alert;

• $4.2 million to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to install and demonstrate Bombardier Transportation's TrackSafe system along six miles of rail system in an effort to improve track worker safety and reduce hazards associated with track inspection, maintenance and repair;

• $3.6 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to research and demonstrate an automated, data-based information collection system designed to measure and monitor the condition of subway rail-car wheels and rail infrastructure to enhance safety, increase energy efficiency and ensure more reliable subway service;

• $2.4 million to the University of Illinois in partnership with Metrolink, Metra, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, MTA New York City Transit and the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon to develop and deploy prototype concrete ties and fastening systems for light-, heavy- and commuter-rail infrastructure to increase the lifecycle of critical components and help maintain rail infrastructure in a state of good repair;

• $1.7 million to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to install and test a radar-based system of detecting track intrusions. The new system will alert rail operators and transit officials when people or objects are detected on the track, helping to avoid collisions; and

• $843,750 to New Jersey Transit to develop an advanced 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.

The FTA received 72 proposals requesting grants totaling $160 million, which far exceeded available funds, according to the USDOT.


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