Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Digest: June 29, 2012

Welcome to TransitBlog's Friday Digest, a round-up of transit-related news from around the country and the globe.

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently teamed up with Indian Trails to install “hearing loop” technology in 17 of their motorcoaches. A hearing loop is a wire that will run around the bus and transmits specific sounds (from a sound source such as the bus PA system) to hearing aids, while surrounding noises are tuned out. Michigan is the first in the U.S to implement this groundbreaking technology. With hearing loss affecting more people every year, this simple equipment not only improves customer experience but paves the way for further advances in transit technology. Read "Indian Trails, MDOT Launch 'Hearing Loop' Tech in Fleet" from Metro Magazine.

Canada is practicing safe transit by testing equipment that detects radiation and explosives on their rail system. This 3-week study in Edmonton, running from June 25-July 15, involves installing five sensors that scan the air for signs of radioactive activity. There are also four ticket validating machines that check for explosives. In the event that explosives are detected, the machines will alert security and security will alert the police, similar to the procedure for a bomb threat. Learn more: "Nuclear device in your pocket? Avoid Churchill LRT" from Edmonton Journal.

This fall, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) is launching an innovative trial program where commuter rail riders use a mobile-phone payment system. The app will work on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones and is being developed by a London-based company. It will allow customers to buy single-ride tickets or monthly passes using their phone, not only saving money but time. The pass will be displayed on the phone and the customer will simply show their screen to the conductor, shortening the process. The program is intended to decrease wait time and make it more convenient to ride public transportation. MBTA has recently announced sign-ups for participation in the pilot program, as well as email updates on the progress of this mobile app. Read more at "T invites commuter rail riders to sign up for updates on smartphone ticket app" from the Boston Globe.