Success Story

Bombardier Transportation


Track level transit workers may soon benefit from improved job safety through research by Bombardier Transportation and the McMaster RFID (radio frequency identification) Applications Lab.

With the support of a three-year $600,000 investment by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), they developed TrackSafe, a turn-key solution that helps enhance track worker safety while improving security, productivity and train service.

The technology equips track-level workers with RFID tags, which they swipe periodically at checkpoints, creating a real time protective zone for the worker. This gives transit operators and controllers a precise visual read-out of workers’ locations. The system also includes motion sensors that detect when a train has entered a zone and triggers warning lights for train operators and track workers.

OCE helped Bombardier and McMaster to not only develop the technology but assist with the development of processes to fuse TrackSafe with current work practices.

The National Research Council Canada (NRC) in conjunction with the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP) is currently testing TrackSafe in Canada.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved a TrackSafe demonstration/pilot project with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). The demonstration project will be held in late 2012.

“When you have an industry leader and top research institute working together, this is an example of what can be created. The development of these solutions could lead to the growth of new technology suppliers and the creation of new jobs. It also develops local expertise in this segment which would be in demand globally.”

—John MacRitchie, Director of Business Development, Ontario Centres of Excellence

Return on Innovation

  • 20 to 40 projected new jobs
  • 40 to 80 indirect jobs

OCE©2010 Last updated 07/2012