OAKLAND (KCBS)— BART is going to test a first-of-its-kind system that would automatically stop trains when there are workers on the tracks. The Federal Transit Administration has awarded the transit system a $5 million grant to develop new technology that goes far beyond the existing trackside alarm technology.
The news comes in response to a deadly accident during the 2013 BART worker strike where they heavily voiced complaints about safety being a point of contention against management.READ MORE: San José School District Secures Vaccine for Entire Workforce
It was October 2013, in Walnut Creek, when two workers inspecting the tracks during the strike were struck and killed by a maintenance train. Now, 16 months later, the FTA giving BART money for the improvements.
“It’s a $5 million grant to study and develop technology that doesn’t exist right now. It would be a system that actually stops a train if it’s approaching a worker who doesn’t acknowledge the train’s presence,” said BART spokesman Jim AllisonREAD MORE: Golden Gate Fields Races to Make Up for Missed Vaccine Appointments
Allison said the idea is to send a signal to a trackside worker’s warning device when there’s a train approaching and if the worker doesn’t respond— it would automatically stop the train.
The transit agency thinks it could be a “failsafe” system that would prevent any future deadly accidents involving workers on the tracks. It will develop and test the idea over the next two years, in conjunction with UC Berkeley.MORE NEWS: Study Shows Stockton Universal Basic Income Experiment Led to Increased Employment
In the meantime, trains run at slower speeds in work zones, which cause delays and frustrates passengers.