Rail Worker Safety

EMTRAC Transit Signal Priority

EMTRAC Rail Worker Safety

As the number of rail lines through metro areas increases, so does the potential for pedestrian accidents—and wayside rail workers are often in the most vulnerable locations.

Transit Signal Priority with EMTRAC TSP

Wayside Personnel are Alerted that a Train is Approaching

By utilizing precise GPS and secure frequency-hopping spread spectrum radio, the EMTRAC Personal Notification Unit (PNU) alerts rail workers when an approaching train is within a specified distance. When the train reaches this distance, the PNU flashes an ultra-bright LED, sounds a pulsed alarm, and/or vibrates to alert the worker of the approaching train.

Upon detecting wayside workers, the EMTRAC system also alerts train operators through the in-cab Control Head, which may be set to both visually and audibly notify of the presence of equipped workers.

  • Worker alerts configurable by fixed distance or estimated time-distance (ETA).
  • Varying alert methods are triggered according to the level of urgency (low, mid, and high). The alert methods include ultra-bright LED flashes, high-volume audible alarm, and/or vibration.
  • Alert types configurable by scenario. For example, workers who are not adjacent to the tracks may receive mid-level alerts when trains approach their position.
  • Configurable transmission modes enable administrators to decrease transmission intervals during down times to further extend battery life.
  • The Central Monitor software enables central personnel to locate worker and train positions with the click of a mouse, view detailed logs of worker and train activity, and receive safety alerts as they occur.
  • Ease of Installation & Maintenance: Wireless system requires no in-track switches or circuits and interfaces with existing systems.
  • Reliability: Wireless communication does not require line-of-sight and has passed testing in some of the most unfavorable environments, including tunnels, depressions, below overpasses, and in pedestrian environments.
  • Precision: Multi-constellation satellite and inertial positioning provide reliable worker and train locations, while also avoiding unnecessary safety alerts.
  • Flexibility: Agency personnel have the ability to configure their worker-safety system to match their desired functionality.
  • Modular Functionality: All of the EMTRAC system applications (such as Transit Signal Priority or the Positive Train Control functions) utilize the same components, so additional capabilities may be added later as schedules or budgets allow.
Rail Worker Safety Video

Information Sheets

Worker Detection Zones

EMTRAC Bus Rapid Transit Signal Priority

Detection Zones: Work Zone (A) and Restricted Zone (B)

The EMTRAC Rail Worker Safety system utilizes geographic detection zones, which are defined in the Systems Manager software.

A number of different types of detection zones may be defined, with each zone type prompting a specific alert mode. For example, a zone that overlays a work site may be set up so that when workers leave the area, a low-level alert is triggered.

As an example, the following types of detection zones may be configured (with additional zone types available):

  • Track Zone: Corresponds to train routes for the purpose of alerting personnel (wayside, train operators, and/or central) of approaching trains.
  • Geoguard Zone: Activates an alert when the PNU leaves the zone. Because there is no limit to the size of geo-fence zones, these zones are useful for maintaining security and may cover an entire facility, work zone, or city.
  • Restricted Zone: Activates an alert when the PNU enters the zone. These zones may be used to notify personnel that they have entered unauthorized areas.
  • Silence Zone: Effectively stops the PNU from triggering any alert response, while still receiving alert signals from equipped vehicles. These zones are useful to designate areas where personnel will be present but do not need to receive alerts.

Central Monitoring

The EMTRAC Central Monitoring System enables supervisory personnel to remotely monitor right-of-way worker and train activity in real time.

Transit Control Center with EMTRAC Central Monitor - Automatic Vehicle Location System

EMTRAC Central Monitor Displaying AVL Maps

With EMTRAC AVL (automatic vehicle location), equipped trains and personnel automatically transmit location and activity data to network-connected EMTRAC detectors in wayside cabinets. This data is displayed on central workstation monitors, showing worker locations and train movement on a map in real-time. It is also recorded in detailed logs for later review.

The components used for this system are the same as those used for basic EMTRAC TSP/EVP functionality, making it both a simple and cost-effective way to implement an accurate and reliable AVL system.

  • Automatically locate specific trains, intersections, and rail workers with the click of a mouse.
  • Receive safety alerts in real time, and configure the way alerts are displayed and enunciated.
  • Automatically download and save activity logs from VCUs (while trains are at rail yard) and PNUs (while charging at operations centers after shifts).
  • Automatically generate reports, which are emailed to specified personnel at defined intervals.
  • View logs and generate reports that show changes in connectivity status to help identify possible communication issues.
  • Ease of Installation: Central Monitoring System interfaces with existing EMTRAC system components, requiring minimal additional equipment.
  • Expandability: Agencies can upgrade their existing EMTRAC systems with minimal effort, expanding the system as schedules and budgets allow.
  • Flexibility: Customize detection zones for specific PNU classes and define the resulting alerts for each detection-zone type.
  • Accuracy: The EMTRAC system utilizes advanced satellite and inertial positioning to ensure precise vehicle and worker location reporting—even in unfavorable environments.
  • Security: Frequency-hopping spread spectrum radio signal has superior range and utilizes AES encryption.

Information Sheets

Automatic Logs & Updates

The EMTRAC Interrogator System enables transit agencies to automatically download activity logs from—and upload firmware and database updates to—Personal Navigation Units (PNUs).

EMTRAC Interrogator System - Download TSP Activity Logs

EMTRAC Interrogator at a Rail Operations Center

The EMTRAC Interrogator System can be used at rail operations centers and maintenance facilities, as well as other locations.

As equipped personnel return to the operations center after shift, their PNUs are placed at charging stations, which is within radio range of the EMTRAC Interrogator.

The Interrogator utilizes secure frequency-hopping spread spectrum radio to download activity logs from the EMTRAC units, and this data is forwarded to a server running the EMTRAC Central Monitor software, where it may be viewed by authorized personnel.

  • Automatic Retrieval and Update: Wirelessly download activity logs from EMTRAC components, and automatically upload firmware or database updates to units that have not yet received the update.
  • Auto-Notifications: The EMTRAC software may be configured to email periodic activity logs to specified agency personnel.
  • System Monitoring: The EMTRAC software enables agency personnel to monitor connection status and history (between server and Interrogator as well as between Interrogator and EMTRAC components) and current RF-signal strength.
  • Communication Stability: Data is not lost in cases of network interruption, and data transfers resume from the point of interruption.
  • Low Profile: For external connections, the EMTRAC Interrogator Kit requires only 120 VAC power and Ethernet. All communication with EMTRAC vehicle components is performed wirelessly.
  • Limitless Memory: By transferring activity logs to the system server, the EMTRAC components are able to continually store new log entries.
  • Timeliness: High communication rates enable fast data transfers, while offering many options for where to mount the Interrogator—such as near PNU charging stations.
  • Flexibility: The EMTRAC Interrogator may be mounted on wall, pole, or other structure, and multiple antenna options allow for reliable communication, even in high-interference environments.

Information Sheets