MBTA To Try New Technology

By Ryan Smythe 03-17-2013 Littleton495_MBTA

The much-maligned MBTA has received some good news.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell $1 million to improve the nation’s railway infrastructure, starting with the MBTA and Metro St. Louis.

The idea is to develop and implement an automated inspection system using radar, laser, geographic-information and global positioning systems technology to evaluate the steel rails, concrete ties, fastening systems and rail beds along the tracks.

According to UMass Lowell, the goal is to identify rail defects like broken tires and missing bolts to improve the safety and functionality of the systems.

Professors Yuanchang Xie and Tzuyang Yu are both faculty members in UMass Lowell’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.  They are heading up the project with a research team consisting of graduate students from UMass Lowell, Duke University, the University of Vermont, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Penn State Altoona.

The research team is also working with consultants from CodeRed Business Solutions of St. Louis, a Minority and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business the specializes in providing technology management services and solutions supporting the Department of Transportation’s State of Good Repair as well as Pavemetrics Systems Inc. of Quebec City, a company that specializes in vision systems for the automated inspection of transportation infrastructures.

The timeframe for the installation of these test systems has not yet been released.