MTA - Metropolitan Transportation Authority

01/13/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/14/2020 06:06

MTA Moves Forward with Signal Modernization of Eighth Avenue ACE Line

$246M Contract Awarded to Install Communications-Based Train Control System and Other Significant Upgrades on Major Corridor Between Manhattan & Brooklyn

NYCT to Deploy Modern Axle-Counter Technology for First Time to Replace Track Circuits & Further Improve Signal System Reliability

'A modern signaling system will help transform commutes for our millions of customers and bring our transit system into the 21st century by providing modern, reliable, safe service that can carry more riders than ever,' said MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford. 'This progress in our Eighth Avenue line resignaling project is a major milestone and a sign of what's coming as we push forward to modernize the system as quickly as possible.'

The MTA's new approach to 'bundling' work in order to minimize disruptions to customers will be heavily employed in this project. In addition to performing a wide variety of upgrades in the contract simultaneously, the MTA's new Construction and Development Company (C&D) will accelerate and coordinate millions of dollars of additional improvement work planned for the corridor so that it happens at the same time, thereby minimizing the amount of service disruption experienced by customers.

'The new MTA is customer-centric and delivering projects better, faster and cheaper,' said Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber, head of MTA C&D. 'We are bundling projects in order to minimize impacts on customers and this project will be our biggest effort yet.'

Modern signaling allows more trains per hour to operate, increasing passenger capacity; provide improved and more reliable service; and make more efficient use of its track and car fleet. Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) is more flexible than the current block signaling system because CBTC continuously updates train positions, distances and travel speeds, allowing for faster and more efficient operations. Continuous updates allow the subway system to recover quickly from delays and restore consistent wait times at subway stations.

The project also enhances safety for customers and employees alike, since NYC Transit using CBTC can program a 'work zone' so trains cannot exceed a set speed, adding an extra layer of safety for workers on the tracks. The modern signaling system also provides precise real-time train arrival information that can be shared with customers on public address systems and electronic screens such as countdown clocks or data-driven mobile apps.

This project also represents the first time NYC Transit will use axle counters in the place of traditional track circuits, which will help reduce delays and reduce installation and maintenance costs. Axle counters, compared to track circuits, use less equipment and more resilient components than traditional track circuits, which are more susceptible to water and debris-related problems. Track repairs and replacements can also happen more quickly on tracks using axle counters rather than continuous track circuits.

The MTA awarded the contract to L.K. Comstock & Company. It includes penalties for delays and was the outcome of a procurement method called 'A+B bidding,' which uses both price and impact on customers as criteria in order to be as customer-friendly as possible. As part of the contract, Siemens Mobility Inc. will provide the CBTC system and equipment. Once the contract is awarded, design work will start immediately with construction beginning as early as the end of this year.

This project represents the first corridor in the NYC subway system receiving modern signaling designed to coincide with the delivery of new CBTC-enabled train cars built from the ground up - the R211 model.

In September 2019, the MTA and the Transit Innovation Partnership announced a new collaborative effort designed to leverage private sector expertise and innovation in an effort to achieve signal modernization more quickly and effectively.