Monday, October 5, 2009

Metrolink To Install & Activate Cameras in Locomotive Cabs

Inward- and Outward-facing Cameras are Newest Technological Additions to Comprehensive Public Safety Program



A copy of the press release can be downloaded by clicking HERE

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 5, 2009: Today, Metrolink Board Chairman Keith Millhouse announced the commuter rail agency’s plans to activate inward- and outward-facing video cameras in all of its locomotives. Metrolink will become the first railroad system in the nation – passenger or freight – to install inward-facing cameras, once again demonstrating its ongoing commitment to passenger and rail safety innovation.

The new Locomotive Digital Video Recorder (LDVR) System includes three cameras per locomotive – an outward-facing camera to record activity in front of the train and two inward-facing cameras to record the control panels and human activities inside the locomotive cab. The LDVR also captures ambient audio transmissions associated with the visual images. All cameras and audio devices in each of the system’s 52 locomotives will be activated this week, between October 7 and 12. LDVRs will also be included in the 57 new Crash Energy Management-equipped lead passenger cars that Metrolink will place into service in the coming year.

“The installation of video cameras inside the control cabs of our trains will provide a significant deterrent to the type of dangerous and inappropriate activity, including text messaging and unauthorized persons in the cab, revealed during the National Transportation Safety Board’s hearing on last fall’s collision,” said Millhouse. “No other rail system in America uses inward-facing cameras to protect its passengers and employees. Use of this digital technology is another important step in our multi-faceted program to reduce the risk of accidents or incidents along our rail corridors and to provide an exceptional safety environment for our passengers and crews.”

“Inward-facing cameras will help to prevent accidents and ensure that the highest level of safety is provided to the 43,000 commuters who depend on Metrolink every day,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “I applaud the Metrolink Board for their decisive action to implement this crucial safety equipment quickly and efficiently.”

Metrolink has adopted stringent procedures governing the authorized usage, retrieval, preservation and disclosure of the LDVR recordings captured by the video cameras and audio devices to ensure they are used only for the purposes permitted in its policy and procedures, or as required by law. The policy outlines the express purposes for capturing recordings on its fleet, which are:

  • To promote and enhance safety and security for the general public, as well as for Metrolink and contractor employees
  • For incident investigation purposes
  • Random testing for compliance with rules governing use of electronic devices, sleeping and unauthorized persons in the cab
  • Where appropriate, to assist in Metrolink and contractor personnel discipline
  • To examine and evaluate conditions on the right-of-way

“The installation of inward-facing video cameras was a key recommendation of the independent Commuter Rail Safety Peer Review Panel due to their ability to offer unique technological enhancements to our existing efficiency testing program,” said Millhouse. “The cameras provide a superior way to monitor activities already under constant observation and to document rules compliance and conditions on the right-of-way.”

While the application of inward-facing video technology is unprecedented in the commuter rail industry, it is a fairly common practice in the transit industry, particularly in buses. In Southern California, the Orange County Transportation Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) have both used interior video cameras for many years as a component of their onboard public safety programs.

Chicago-based Railhead Vision Systems, a division of Railhead Corporation, is the contractor providing the outward- and inward-facing cameras and audio recording system. Railhead has extensive experience providing similar equipment to commuter and freight railroad agencies across the county. Railhead Vision Systems’ digital recording system is designed specifically for use in heavy rail and mass transit applications.

Metrolink has previously taken the lead in rail safety advancements with the purchase of the first-of-its-kind Crash Energy Management-equipped commuter rail passenger cars and its industry-leading Sealed Corridor Program. As part of its ongoing commitment to passenger safety, Metrolink has added the “second set of eyes” program as an interim safety measure on strategic routes; has installed Automatic Train Stop technology at 43 speed-sensitive locations; and is implementing an accelerated strategy to install Positive Train Control equipment on all Metrolink trains by 2012, three years before required by federal mandate for national implementation, among other safety-focused initiatives.

Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 16th year of operations. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority, a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. The agency currently contracts with Connex Railroad, LLC for the personnel that operate, supervise and manage Metrolink commuter rail service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county 512 route-mile network, serving more than 43,000 trips each weekday.

1 comment:

Al M said...

I don't like it!