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Data collected by high-tech helicopter will enhance system security, emergency response and employee training

April 10, 2007
Contact: Dan Stessel or Courtney Carroll 973 491-7078

NEWARK, NJNJ TRANSIT will continue a technology initiative to enhance rail system security and training for front-line employees, help speed emergency response capabilities and aid in the creation of system maps, building on work begun in 2003.

Beginning Friday, April 20, and continuing for approximately two weeks, NJ TRANSIT will conduct aerial survey work along its railroad lines in northern and central New Jersey using unique LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology. The survey—performed by a specially equipped helicopter with antennas extending from its sides—will allow NJ TRANSIT to update maps of critical areas of the rail infrastructure.

NJ TRANSIT is advising residents who live near NJ TRANSIT rail lines that the unusual looking helicopter will be flying at a low level—approximately 300 feet above the tracks—to perform its work.

The helicopter uses LiDAR technology—a Global Position System (GPS)-controlled laser scan that creates a three-dimensional image of NJ TRANSIT’s rail rights-of-way—and will collect 3-D scan data, aerial photography and video footage. A digitized electronic map, along with the photography and video, will be integrated into NJ TRANSIT’s Geographic Information System (GIS), which is used to support planning, training and operations.

Weather permitting, the work will be performed over a two-week period beginning April 20, in the following order:

  • Morristown Line
  • Montclair-Boonton Line
  • Gladstone Branch
  • Raritan Valley Line
  • Northeast Corridor (Morrisville, PA – NJ – Long Island City)
  • North Jersey Coast Line
  • Main Line/Bergen County Line (to Harriman, NY)
  • Pascack Valley Line (to Spring Valley, NY)

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.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 857,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.