The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (DC) has received a state of the art track geometry vehicle. These vehicles have technology that examines the conditions of the tracks and will alert Metro about any problems and defects that may occur. There are many benefits to this technology, such as the ability to measure rail temperatures, perform rail flaw inspections and record video of track beds and temperatures. Also, they can perform some of these testing at speeds of 60 mph. The track geometry vehicle (TGV) was built specifically for Metro’s needs, and will be in full service later this year. Read more at "D.C. Metro unveils track geometry vehicle" from Metro Magazine.
The MTA Metro-North Railroad is testing a new smartphone app that allows customers to display tickets on their phones. These electronic tickets are the next step in ticketing technology and will soon be used throughout the country. Metro-North employees will participate in the pilot program next month in which purchased tickets will show up on their phone’s screen with a bar code that the conductor can scan. The pilot program will allow for Metro-North to work out any glitches in the app and also see if this mobile ticketing is indeed faster than their current fare collection method. Learn more: "New Smartphone App Could Replace Railroad Tickets" at the Wall Street Journal Blog.
This week California has started testing their new real-time technology, which tells riders when the train will arrive at the station, if there are any delays, etc. This is made possible by GPS technology on the trains, which transmit information about the train’s speed and location. This information will be received at the commuter railroad’s control center and from there sent to the digital signs at the rail stations to inform riders. Once the system is fully installed, real-time information will be available on Caltrain’s website and via email and text message alerts. The system is said to be fully operational by the end of the year. Read "Caltrain testing out real-time arrival tracking system" from ABC to learn more.