Tracking the green line

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Re: Tracking the green line

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:02 am

Huh? Verizon phones work fine in the stations that have cellular service.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
User avatar
MBTA3247
 
Posts: 2590
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:01 pm
Location: Milton

Re: Tracking the green line

Postby SM89 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:27 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:Huh? Verizon phones work fine in the stations that have cellular service.


Maybe it's just data then because my friends with Verizon can never play Words with Friends with me in the subway lol.
SM89
 
Posts: 347
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:45 pm
Location: Mission Hill, MA

Re: Tracking the green line

Postby wicked » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:09 pm

millerm277 wrote:I don't know a whole lot about trains, but I do know computers/electronics.

First, while cameras sound good on the surface, they have many points of failure that are difficult to control for. Various weather/lighting conditions outdoors, the camera can get knocked out of alignment, the camera can get dirty, the light on the roll might not be working, there might be a misread, etc. They're not unworkable, just there are what I would consider easier and more reliable solutions.

Here's what I'd go with:

Build a little box for $250-500. Shove a GPS reciever and a 3G stick in there, plug them into a little low-power computer. All of this would be straight off the shelf hardware. It'd be about the size of a book, and pull maybe 20-30W of power at most. A box goes in every car.

Above ground, you now have perfectly accurate tracking down to a couple feet. Send the location to a server somewhere every 10-20 seconds. Data costs will be essentially nothing, as you're sending a few lines of text, few bucks a month per car.

Underground, GPS and cellular doesn't work. However, a cell network is currently being built in the tunnels and stations, which solves both problems nicely. Every cellular "node", has a ID that the 3G receiver can read. Go get the list of the exact locations where each one is placed, and you'll have decent tracking, especially with some programming to optimize the system. Not as good as above ground (probably, I'd need to see what the range/spacing is on the nodes), but certainly adequate.

Now you know where every car is at all times that the box is turned on.

Find a way to either pull from the car or have the operator input (little keypad + little red LED display to show the current setting) what line + end destination it's set to, and you're all set to go. You only need this because it'd be fairly difficult to figure out where cars are going underground/in the sections of the line with multiple letters running otherwise.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Skip the countdown signs to begin with. That's a significant infrastructure cost, you can consider it after the system works for a year or two. Put the data out there in a competent smartphone application + a website, and you're done.

When I started making this post, I thought tracking this sort of thing would be easy and cheap.

Now that I've thought about it, I don't understand why it doesn't exist already. You'd need an electrical/computer engineering grad student (pick components, maybe some wiring), a mechanical engineering grad student (design a good enclosure for the components) and maybe a half-dozen computer science grad students to write the back-end code and a smartphone app + webpage for displaying it and a professor or two to manage it, to get this done, piloted, and deployed in a few months.

Pilot cost would be a few thousand at most. Shove some parts into a couple boxes, give them some power, buy a server, and a cell data plan for the 3g stick, is it for costs. You could probably get it covered by grant money, for that matter. Once it's proven, a few hundred per car for boxes, go make a bunch of spares to alleviate concern, and a few bucks per car a month for data fees.


Please email the T with this info, who knows, maybe they'll listen.
wicked
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:17 pm
Location: MBTA Red Line, formerly WMATA Blue/Yellow

Re: Tracking the green line

Postby danib62 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:21 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:Huh? Verizon phones work fine in the stations that have cellular service.

Verizon works fine in the downtown hub stations but in the tunnels you can get reception on the GSM carriers (t-mobile, AT&T).
"We are running with normal train service on the Red Line. We apologize for the inconvenience."
User avatar
danib62
 
Posts: 1515
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:01 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA

Re: Tracking the green line

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:48 pm

SM89 wrote:
MBTA3247 wrote:Huh? Verizon phones work fine in the stations that have cellular service.


Maybe it's just data then because my friends with Verizon can never play Words with Friends with me in the subway lol.

I have no trouble with data or voice.

danib62 wrote:Verizon works fine in the downtown hub stations but in the tunnels you can get reception on the GSM carriers (t-mobile, AT&T).

Artifact of GSM service being rolled out to the stations first, perhaps. I wonder why CDMA antennae haven't (apparently) been as widely installed?
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
User avatar
MBTA3247
 
Posts: 2590
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:01 pm
Location: Milton

Re: Tracking the green line

Postby danib62 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:55 am

Not to get too far off topic but verizon never signed a contract to have service outside of downtown.
"We are running with normal train service on the Red Line. We apologize for the inconvenience."
User avatar
danib62
 
Posts: 1515
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:01 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA

Re: Tracking the green line

Postby The EGE » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:54 pm

Crossposted from another thread: MBTA: Mobile apps will be able to track Green Line trains by 2015

It looks like it will use new sensors to read the existing AVI devices in the tunnels, and GPS on the branch lines.
"Give me an unobstructed right-of-way and I'll show them how to move the earth!"
User avatar
The EGE
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:16 pm
Location: Waiting for the C Branch

Previous

Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests