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HELICOPTER SURVEYS TO PROVIDE VALUABLE DATA AND MAPS FOR NJ TRANSIT

High-Tech Project to Bolster Security, Emergency Response and Rail Training Capabilities

NEWARK, NJ, April 1, 2003 - NJ TRANSIT is launching a new technology initiative that will enhance the Corporation’s rail system security, help to speed emergency response capabilities and augment training for railroad front-line employees.

Beginning Thursday, April 3, and lasting for approximately three weeks, NJ TRANSIT will begin aerial survey work along all of its railroad right-of-way using unique LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology. The survey - being performed by a specially equipped helicopter with antennas extending from its sides will allow NJ TRANSIT to map critical areas of the rail infrastructure.

The helicopter will collect data, images and video footage along the railroad rights-of-way. Mindful of a level orange alert, NJ TRANSIT is advising residents living near rail lines served by NJ TRANSIT trains that the unusual looking helicopter will be flying at a low level - approximately 150 feet above the tracks - to perform its work.

"This project allows us to accomplish two things - increase our capabilities to respond quickly to any emergency and better manage employee deployment, equipment and infrastructure," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. "It also provides for improved coordination between NJ TRANSIT and its host communities, particularly first responders."

The aerial survey work will be conducted by John Chance Land Surveys, Inc. of Lafayette LA. John Chance has performed similar work along more than 2,000 miles of railroad corridor around the United States.

The helicopter uses LiDar technology - a Global Position System (GPS)- controlled laser scan that will create a three -dimensional image of NJ TRANSITs rail rights-of-way. A digitized electronic map video and track charts will be integrated into a Geographic Information System (GIS).

A computer-based Incident Area Mapping system will provide train dispatchers, police and other emergency responders with maps of affected areas during emergencies. The system will also be capable of displaying the current position of affected trains on the maps.

Other highlights of the effort:

  • A Training Simulation system will be developed to train rail personnel utilizing computer-based video of rail lines. The process allows the training effort to take place in a classroom setting, reducing field training time and costs for NJ TRANSIT.
  • The new system streamlines management and maintenance of the rail infrastructure, particularly when track defects can be mapped and identified for repair work more effectively.

Weather permitting, the work will be performed over a three-week period beginning - April 3 - in the following order:

  • Atlantic City Line
  • Northeast Corridor including Princeton Branch and Morrisville Yard.
  • North Jersey Coast Line
  • Raritan Valley Line
  • Morristown Line/Gladstone Branch
  • Montclair-Boonton Line
  • Main Line/Bergen County Line
  • Port Jervis Line
  • Pascack Valley Line

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 752,600 daily trips on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines.

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