RailTEC to deploy instrumentation for real time monitoring of rail transit infrastructure


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Above: RailTEC researchers installing instrumentation on St. Louis MetroLink light rail transit infrastructure.

The Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) in CEE at Illinois has received a $395,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Agency (FTA) to deploy smart sensors on rail infrastructure to provide real-time information about its condition.

 The grant is part of the FTA’s Real-Time Asset Management Program, the goal of which is to enhance asset management of infrastructure and safety by developing and deploying innovative technologies that can provide real-time condition assessment of rail transit assets.

J. Riley Edwards
J. Riley Edwards
 “This project will address critical rail transit infrastructure safety and operational questions through the development and deployment of smart sensing technologies that will assess both rail transit track and rolling stock condition and performance,” said RailTEC Principal Investigator J. Riley Edwards.

RailTEC will partner with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA); Metra (Chicago); Washington, D.C., Metro; and St. Louis MetroLink. The work will build on previous FTA-funded research conducted by partnering with light, heavy, and commuter rail transit providers throughout the United States.

In announcing this week’s awards, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao stated, “These research grants will help improve transit operations and enhance safety for riders who use these systems every day.”  

FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams added, “FTA is leveraging cutting-edge technology to better maintain our nation’s transit assets, which will improve safety for both riders and front-line workers. … These innovative new designs will help transit systems maintain a state of good repair, which is particularly important during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

RailTEC maintains a robust rail research program with focus areas in infrastructure, systems and safety.  Learn more about RailTEC’s research and education programs at: https://railtec.illinois.edu/


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This story was published December 4, 2020.