• Safe and Timely Rail Transit
  • Right-of-Way Safety Alerts
  • Improved Headway and Schedule Adherence
  • Right-of-Way Worker Safety

Increase Safety — Decrease Travel Time

Emergency Vehicle Preemption and Transit Signal Priority

The EMTRAC system uses precise navigation technology and secure RF communication to detect both rail vehicles and workers. Equipped trains use the same EMTRAC components to manage signal-priority requests and to take advantage of key elements of positive train control.

EMTRAC Rail Line Safety

EMTRAC News Items

EMTRAC vehicle equipment mounted in a fire engine, Coquitlam, BC

EMTRAC-equipped fire engine, Coquitlam, BC

April 5, 2017 – STC, Inc., manufacturer of the EMTRAC signal-priority system, has integrated the Galileo satellite navigation system with EMTRAC equipment installed in transit and emergency vehicles. Similar to the GPS navigation system maintained by the United States, Galileo is the new European navigation system and will have 24 operational satellites at full capacity. The Galileo system commenced limited initial service on December 15, 2016—and EMTRAC is the first signal-priority system capable of Galileo satellite navigation.

Signal priority systems are installed in traffic systems throughout North America, and they are referred to as either Transit Signal Priority (TSP) or Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP) when describing the specific method used to grant priority to equipped vehicles. With this system, equipped vehicles are able to automatically request green signals through equipped intersections, safely reducing travel time while increasing efficiency.

With this addition, the EMTRAC system simultaneously tracks Galileo system satellites along with the GPS and GLONASS constellations, increasing the overall number of satellites used to determine vehicle positions, resulting in enhanced accuracy. The EMTRAC system also utilizes dead-reckoning navigation through multiple inertial sensors, including three-axis accelerometer and gyroscope sensing to maintain accuracy in difficult urban conditions, such as urban canyons, tunnels, and multi-level highways.

An EMTRAC-equipped rapid-transit bus in San Jose, CA

EMTRAC-equipped bus in San Jose, CA (VTA)

According to STC President Brad Cross, integration of the Galileo navigation system immediately increases accuracy, and performance will continue to improve in the coming years.

"As more satellites are added to the Galileo constellation, and it becomes fully operational, we expect the EMTRAC system to be more reliable than ever in areas where sky view is obstructed," Cross said.

STC recently conducted a controlled test of the EMTRAC system—using Galileo navigation exclusively. During the test, an EMTRAC-equipped vehicle successfully interpreted detection zones and transmitted priority requests to a simulated intersection utilizing only Galileo satellites.

"We believe this to be the first test of its kind in North America," Cross said.

While high precision is not necessary for many signal-priority scenarios, Cross says there are specific situations where it is essential.

"Precision positioning is critical for applications like rail-worker safety and lane-specific signal response, and the availability of additional navigation systems improves accuracy, particularly in those areas where it's very difficult to obtain a satellite fix."

Similar technology is also used on EMTRAC transit-rail products, which alert train operators and wayside workers when there's potential for unsafe conditions.

"We need to be able to report which track a particular train or worker is on at a rail yard where there may be 10 or 15 sets of tracks, side by side," Cross said.

Cross added that all future deliveries for EMTRAC vehicle equipment will include Galileo capability, and vehicle equipment with Galileo capability will be compatible with existing EMTRAC wayside equipment, making upgrades to installed wayside equipment unnecessary.

STC has manufactured the EMTRAC system for over 25 years, and it is used by traffic, transit, and first-response agencies in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

EMTRAC Rail website: https://www.emtracrail.com

European Global Naviation Satellite Systems Agency website: https://www.gsc-europa.eu/system-status/Constellation-Information

EMTRAC System Testing by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

EMTRAC System Testing by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

February 28, 2017 – STC, Inc has been issued a U.S. patent for its EMTRAC Rail Worker Notification system, which notifies railway maintenance workers of approaching trains, as well as notifying train operators when their train is approaching wayside workers.

The EMTRAC notification system is comprised of two main components, the onboard Vehicle Computer Units and the Personal Notification Units carried by rail workers. Optional detection units may also be installed in wayside cabinets along the railway to extend communications or to enable real-time monitoring of vehicle and worker activity. The EMTRAC system also includes setup software so administrative personnel can configure the system according to specific agency requirements.

Worker alerts are delivered by a pulsed audio alarm, ultra-bright LED lights, and vibration. Rail agencies can configure these alerts based on the urgency of various situations. For example, wayside workers who are not directly adjacent to the track may receive lower-level alerts delivered only by LED display. Specific areas may also be designated silent zones where the system will not trigger alerts. This functionality is an important aspect of an effective notification system according to STC President Brad Cross.

BART Rail Worker

Wayside Rail Maintenance

"Silent zones help reduce false alerts. This EMTRAC feature makes the system more user friendly because workers avoid alert fatigue, and they're also less likely to become complacent when alerts do occur."

The alert time-distances may also be customized to meet agency requirements. For example, the system may be set to alert rail workers 20 seconds before the trains estimated time of arrival at their location, giving workers time to move to a safe area and then acknowledge and silence the alert.

"Evaluations conducted by multiple light-rail agencies provided data to show that the EMTRAC Rail Worker Notification System outperforms the competition," Cross said.

Field tests of the EMTRAC system confirmed that the patented system met agency-defined requirements at the most challenging railway locations for both reliable positioning and timely alert communications. To see portions of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) field test, please watch the included video.

In addition to rail worker safety, STC, inc has provided EMTRAC signal priority systems to both transit and first-response agencies throughout North America for over 25 years.