Skip to main content

Smarter Railroads

Embedded intelligence, analytics and optimization are reshaping the granddaddy of the transportation industry

Tab navigation

The train is running on time, so why are you 15 minutes late?


 
If you commute by the Washington D.C. Metro, with the longest escalator in the Western Hemisphere, it could be because an escalator is out. In another city, it could be the elevator. Or a connecting bus. Or a blocked track. But if you ride the rapid transit systems in San Francisco, Washington D.C. or Long Island, over the next few years your experience is likely to be improved. All three have chosen IBM software to manage their assets, improve safety and reliability. and stay on schedule.


 

United States rapid transit systems by ridership. System, Largest city served, Daily ridership: New York City Subway, New York City, 7,736,900. WMATA Metrorail, Washington
D.C., 1,026,900. Chicago 'L', Chicago, 653,400. MBTA (Or 'T'), Boston, 480,600. BART, San Francisco, 359,400. Source, American Public Transportation Association, Heavy Rail
Transit Ridership Report, Second Quarter 2009.

 

At 175 years old, the LIRR is the busiest commuter railroad in North America--and the oldest still operating under its original name.

New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco choose IBM software to help run their transit systems


 
Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)
The LIRR serves more than 300,000 passengers riding more than 700 miles of track every day. It recently chose IBM Maximo software to manage and maintain approximately 1,180 rail cars, locomotives and their components. As part of a project expected to be completed in 2012, IBM will assist the LIRR in expanding its asset management systems to include facilities such as Penn Station, bridges, tunnels, linear assets such as rail, and IT assets including PCs, servers and software.

"The efficiency of the Long Island Rail Road is heavily dependant on the proper maintenance and repair of thousands of components, from trains to facilities, tracks, signals and communications," said Vincent Mezzanotte, Chief Information Officer, LIRR. IBM Maximo software helps railroads with preventative maintenance so they can replace components or fix assets before they break—keeping things running smoothly and significantly lowering costs.


 

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
The Washington Metro, with 267,000 in total assets including bus stops, escalators and elevators, and track, is one of the most complex rapid transit systems in the country. With IBM software, all of these parts can be tracked, monitored, and managed from a central control point using simple on-screen displays. The software will help manage almost 180,000 work orders per month, set preventative maintenance schedules and support contract management. Smarter systems like WMATA can improve the life span and reliability of equipment, while reducing travel delays, emissions and fuel consumption across the city.

The longest set of single-span uninterrupted escalators in the Western Hemisphere is at the Wheaton station of the Washington Metro system. They are 230 feet in length, and take just over four minutes to ascend.

 

The vision for the BART system--an underwater tube devoted exclusively to high-speed electric trains--surfaced as early as 1911. It eventually opened for passengers on September 11, 1972.

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
BART, the nation's fifth busiest transportation system, offers travelers an alternative to driving on bridges and highways, easing the traffic and pollution. "Because we are managing an aging fleet while planning for the future, the efficiency of BART requires visibility across all of our assets to provide safe and uninterrupted railway services to our customers," said Randall Franklin, Program Director of BART's Business Advancement Program. IBM software will manage the purchasing, inventory and maintenance systems that support its operations and conduct analysis and schedule maintenance before a part or system fails. It will manage and update the extensive parts inventory and plan jobs to maximize workforce efficiency. With a smarter system, BART can continue its modernization with tightened budgets and fewer resources while maintaining its high standards of service.