In a major step to overhaul its aging train control and rail safety systems, MARTA signed a contract Wednesday with Alstom Signaling, Inc. a global leader in transit technology and innovation. Once completed, this project will significantly improve rail service delivery for MARTA customers while also dramatically improving operational efficiency and overall productivity.
“This project is a demonstration of our commitment to move forward with the next generation of automated train control and safety systems,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO, Dr. Beverly A. Scott. “It also positions MARTA to broaden its reach in terms of creating an integrated transit network for the future that will have the capacity to serve the entire Atlanta region.”
Alstom was selected after a rigorous competitive bid process to implement a seamlessly integrated operational platform that will direct train movement, control traction power, and monitor station and other auxiliary functions. In addition, the project will include major business process re-engineering to maximize the value of the technology.
The $116.99 million project, which will be funded from MARTA’s capital budget, will take approximately 5 years to complete. The contract also includes a provision for two, five-year contract options for Alstom to sustain and maintain the investment for up to 10 additional years bringing the total contract value to $142.90 million.
This comprehensive work will dramatically improve MARTA’s train control and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Working in tandem, these systems will function as the nerve center for MARTA’s Rail Service Control Center to safely direct train movements and deliver timely system and equipment field information.
For customers, the new train control and SCADA systems will improve on-time performance, enhance safety systems, provide real time information, and increase overall reliability. Behind the scenes, the new technology will provide MARTA’s rail team with more efficient operations, better communication between trains and stations, enhanced monitoring capabilities, quicker response times, and reduced maintenance costs.
Phillippe Mellier, President of Alstom Transport Division, hailed the project as the type of cutting edge technology that has a proven track record. “These types of integrated systems are being developed at transit agencies all around the world,” Mellier said. “We are very proud to be involved in this partnership with MARTA that we are confident will be a successful example of how to significantly advance the prospects for regional transit in metro Atlanta.”
MARTA’s existing train control systems are more than 30 years old and, as a result, equipment has become increasingly cumbersome to use and obsolete hardware and software is no longer supported by vendors. In addition, in order for MARTA to meet current and future service requirements, the technology needed to be updated to allow for integration with new auxiliary systems.
The project will also give MARTA the ability to implement current and pending recommendations that have been made by the National Transportation Safety Board.