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(Boston.com)   Massachusetts may spend nearly a billion dollars on equipment to stop trains before they crash into each other, because hiring drivers who stay awake is too hard   (boston.com) divider line 78
    More: Stupid, stop the train, MBTA, Massachusetts, automated system, United States Secretary of Transportation  
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3492 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Dec 2012 at 1:19 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



78 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2012-12-24 03:13:27 PM  
I like girls that pull a train.

/just saying.
 
2012-12-24 03:16:28 PM  

keithgabryelski: StopLurkListen: Trains should need operators like elevators need operators.

Trains = horizontal elevators.

You want a human official on board to provide safety? No problem with that -- an operator in a control booth won't be as effective as an officer that can patrol.

well, except that an elevator shaft never has cross traffic nor a fallen tree


Fallen trees In an underground tube? Also, rail systems all use some sort of blocking signalling (or better) so that two vehicles are never on the same segment at the same time. (Not sure if 'cross traffic' ever happens in rail systems, or maybe I'm misunderstanding your meaning)

And in any case, operators can only react to what they can see, and the faster the train is going the shorter the necessary reaction time will be, and this is even further reducednight/weather/etc so very often it's impossible for a human operator to react early enough even under the best of circumstances, while computer systems can use many other sensors to safely operate the train, theoretically far better than one operated by a human.
 
2012-12-24 03:17:33 PM  
Link Driver had a stroke that paralyzed him.
 
2012-12-24 03:27:02 PM  

StopLurkListen: keithgabryelski: StopLurkListen: Trains should need operators like elevators need operators.

Trains = horizontal elevators.

You want a human official on board to provide safety? No problem with that -- an operator in a control booth won't be as effective as an officer that can patrol.

well, except that an elevator shaft never has cross traffic nor a fallen tree

Fallen trees In an underground tube? Also, rail systems all use some sort of blocking signalling (or better) so that two vehicles are never on the same segment at the same time. (Not sure if 'cross traffic' ever happens in rail systems, or maybe I'm misunderstanding your meaning)


The green line (in boston) is mostly outdoor with cross traffic and does have tree falling incidents
 
2012-12-24 03:34:45 PM  

jjorsett: Google has developed self-driving vehicles that can operate on the open streets. Operating a train in the controlled environment of a rail system ought to be even easier. How about we eliminate the human element entirely and not just avoid collisions, but have computers control the whole damn train from beginning of journey to end? If we simply can't bear to do without a human, we can prop up some union drunk in the cabin with a single control button available: STOP. At least he wouldn't be able to crash the train like today.


It would be easy as fark to do. First, program a bunch of rules into the system. Sensors and actuators in TWO independent systems (for redundancy). Then, set up another system that learns from the human controllers by observing what they do in terms of controlling the train. Now you're 90% of the way to having a computer controlled train system. Hell, it doesn't even have to be 100% computer controlled...it could still have a human 'directing' and the computers doing everything else.
 
2012-12-24 03:44:53 PM  

keithgabryelski: StopLurkListen: keithgabryelski: StopLurkListen: Trains should need operators like elevators need operators.

Trains = horizontal elevators.

You want a human official on board to provide safety? No problem with that -- an operator in a control booth won't be as effective as an officer that can patrol.

well, except that an elevator shaft never has cross traffic nor a fallen tree

Fallen trees In an underground tube? Also, rail systems all use some sort of blocking signalling (or better) so that two vehicles are never on the same segment at the same time. (Not sure if 'cross traffic' ever happens in rail systems, or maybe I'm misunderstanding your meaning)

The green line (in boston) is mostly outdoor with cross traffic and does have tree falling incidents


And don't forget cars getting stuck on the track because their GPS tells them to drive down them.

The green line is a fairly complicated line consisting of four lines from the western part of the city and suburbs with totally different above ground rail and usage patterns that all converge underneath the city into one line. It's a fine design if you want to use rail cars from less dense parts of the city to populate a more densely populated portion of the city with rail cars. But all those areas are densely populated. It wasn't until reading that article that it dawned on me they couldn't add more morning D line trains because it would affect the other three lines and underneath the city it's already pretty densely packed with cars.
 
2012-12-24 03:53:37 PM  

thatboyoverthere: Link Driver had a stroke that paralyzed him.


Not according to your link.
 
2012-12-24 03:56:13 PM  

cman: why haven't we learned from history, yet?


Bears repeating, no?

/granted, some of those weren't entirely driver error...
 
2012-12-24 04:00:00 PM  

Hrist: jjorsett: Google has developed self-driving vehicles that can operate on the open streets. Operating a train in the controlled environment of a rail system ought to be even easier. How about we eliminate the human element entirely and not just avoid collisions, but have computers control the whole damn train from beginning of journey to end? If we simply can't bear to do without a human, we can prop up some union drunk in the cabin with a single control button available: STOP. At least he wouldn't be able to crash the train like today.

It would be easy as fark to do. First, program a bunch of rules into the system. Sensors and actuators in TWO independent systems (for redundancy). Then, set up another system that learns from the human controllers by observing what they do in terms of controlling the train. Now you're 90% of the way to having a computer controlled train system. Hell, it doesn't even have to be 100% computer controlled...it could still have a human 'directing' and the computers doing everything else.


Go bid the contract or some other contract then.
 
2012-12-24 04:03:26 PM  
Why not put the otto-pilot in the cockpit and have a female passenger make sure it's all up and running.
Be cheaper.
And don't need a movie.
 
2012-12-24 04:12:50 PM  

Ed Finnerty: If trains had guns, this never woul...

Sorry. Force of habit.


upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-12-24 04:18:53 PM  

Invisible Dynamite Monkey: It wasn't until reading that article that it dawned on me they couldn't add more morning D line trains because it would affect the other three lines and underneath the city it's already pretty densely packed with cars.


They can add three car trains to the D line -- which they said they would do two winters ago, but as I understand it they screwed up a train purchase and had to eat the cost (the trains purchased did not fit on Boston's tracks).

They have no ability to add extra lines, which is a shame -- that would probably cure most of the ills.
Even if the new lines (half the trains, maybe?) were run underneath the current lines and skipped all the town stops until park street that would be an improvement.

It's just painful using the green line.
 
2012-12-24 05:01:24 PM  
Somebody better holla for R.T., he ain't never seen no wreck like that before.
 
2012-12-24 05:05:57 PM  
WTF are they gonna do bout the Green Line?
 
2012-12-24 05:11:02 PM  
And yall keep voting Democrat...
 
2012-12-24 05:39:57 PM  

clane: And yall keep voting Democrat...


you have no idea what you are talking about
 
2012-12-24 05:46:56 PM  
The problem with Positive Train Control is that its a highly technical rail safety system that was designed by Congress.

This isn't just an MTBA problem; its heavy rail everywhere. Its a collosal clusterfark.

ATS systems are simple and reasonably effective, but they won't help in loss of shunt incidents.
 
2012-12-24 06:02:09 PM  
yeah i have to agree with subby, a billion dollars is far too much for the expected number of lives saved. resources would be better allocated in any number of other ways.
 
2012-12-24 06:11:08 PM  
Well hell. It's not like they can convince more people to learn how to be a driver. Most of the sleeping ones are probably pulling doubles every day.
 
2012-12-24 06:17:32 PM  
This could be implemented more cheaply on the other three lines.

The Green Line is a clusterfark that can only be fixed by blowing it up and starting from scratch with infinite $$$ to grab the necessary land rights through eminent domain.  

They're also planning to extend it into Somerville and Medford.   That was supposed to be finished a few years ago - now scheduled for 2020 and they've JUST started even though they've already delayed long enough to lose Federal funding (the project was required back in the 90's as part of the Big Dig to relieve pollution along I-93).   The rumors leaked from people within the MBTA is that what is probably going to happen is that they'll get started, then say they can't do it because of a lack of funding and that in the 20 years the project has been in "development", low-emission buses can meet the environmental needs at a fraction of the cost and will be the only way to make the 2020 deadlines.   It's also expected that this will be the first push to eliminating the Green Line trolleys entirely (at least in the city) giving them over to low-emission buses using the tunnels to get around Boston traffic in the 2025/2030 time frame.   (Basically, they'll convert the Green Line to another branch of the Silver Line.)
 
2012-12-24 06:41:57 PM  
Where's Team Bullet Train when you need them?

tfwiki.net

Rapid Run, Railspike, and Midnight Express would never allow this to happen.
 
2012-12-24 07:52:03 PM  

Skarekrough: keithgabryelski: how is this headline a troll?  the MBTA will be spending nearly a billion on designing and implementing safety features over ten years because of a recent set of accidents which were mainly caused by bad driving.

Because every major subway system in America already has this technology in place already.

This isn't any new technology. It should come under the heading of basic maintenance and improvement.


Keep talking out of your ass. The MTA has nothing resembling Automatic Train Control. Hell, their wayside signalling system is almost 100 years old.
 
2012-12-24 10:09:16 PM  

keithgabryelski: StopLurkListen: keithgabryelski: StopLurkListen: Trains should need operators like elevators need operators.

Trains = horizontal elevators.

You want a human official on board to provide safety? No problem with that -- an operator in a control booth won't be as effective as an officer that can patrol.

well, except that an elevator shaft never has cross traffic nor a fallen tree

Fallen trees In an underground tube? Also, rail systems all use some sort of blocking signalling (or better) so that two vehicles are never on the same segment at the same time. (Not sure if 'cross traffic' ever happens in rail systems, or maybe I'm misunderstanding your meaning)

The green line (in boston) is mostly outdoor with cross traffic and does have tree falling incidents


Ah, OK, thanks!
 
2012-12-25 12:11:41 AM  

Ed Finnerty: If trains had guns, this never woul...

Sorry. Force of habit.


You know who else put guns on trains?

books.gigaimg.com
 
2012-12-25 04:14:22 AM  

jjorsett: Google has developed self-driving vehicles that can operate on the open streets. Operating a train in the controlled environment of a rail system ought to be even easier. How about we eliminate the human element entirely and not just avoid collisions, but have computers control the whole damn train from beginning of journey to end? If we simply can't bear to do without a human, we can prop up some union drunk in the cabin with a single control button available: STOP. At least he wouldn't be able to crash the train like today.


Singapore already uses driver-less trains on several of their MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) lines. Their trains are incredibly reliable, and safe, with additional platform safety features such as platform screens (walls with doors that separate the platform and the track). ATO systems are nothing new, but seem to be slow to be implemented in many places. There are too many potential human failures to justify not moving to an ATO system.

That said, I do find it surprising that this line's rolling stock does not even have a dead man's switch to ensure the driver is awake and attentive.
 
2012-12-25 05:11:10 AM  
On the other hand, I trust technology a lot more than I trust human beings.

MACHINES GOOD - PEOPLE BAD
 
2012-12-25 10:54:14 AM  
What? They can't weld iPhones to the engines, install a track me app and and program them to NEVER CONVERGE? I will accept a consulting fee for this obvious and $900 million cheaper idea.
 
2012-12-26 12:39:16 AM  

StephNET: jjorsett: Google has developed self-driving vehicles that can operate on the open streets. Operating a train in the controlled environment of a rail system ought to be even easier. How about we eliminate the human element entirely and not just avoid collisions, but have computers control the whole damn train from beginning of journey to end? If we simply can't bear to do without a human, we can prop up some union drunk in the cabin with a single control button available: STOP. At least he wouldn't be able to crash the train like today.

Singapore already uses driver-less trains on several of their MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) lines. Their trains are incredibly reliable, and safe, with additional platform safety features such as platform screens (walls with doors that separate the platform and the track). ATO systems are nothing new, but seem to be slow to be implemented in many places. There are too many potential human failures to justify not moving to an ATO system.

That said, I do find it surprising that this line's rolling stock does not even have a dead man's switch to ensure the driver is awake and attentive.


This is America. If it's too expensive to put power lines underground, then it's way too expensive to implement robot smart trains. Plus fixing the results of unpreparedness and human error is an honored pastime.
 
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