2011-12-09 / Community

Transit Authority Prepares For Winter Season

With winter approaching, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) agencies are making preparations to provide safe service in the event of snow and ice storms. Incorporating lessons learned during last winter’s record-setting blizzards and snowstorms, MTA agencies have improved customer communication practices, instituted new winter weather response procedures and upgraded stormfighting equipment.

“Last winter’s weather was tough for New York and the MTA, but we’ve made improvements to our service protocols, equipment and communications to provide the best possible service this year,” said MTA Executive Director Joseph J. Lhota. “We’re prepared to clear more snow and ice than ever before and we’ll be working hard to keep service running, but we won’t hesitate to suspend service on parts of our system when it’s necessary to protect the safety of our riders, employees and equipment.”

The MTA has appointed an emergency coordinator to facilitate MTA-wide storm response coordination and information sharing and has improved procedures to deliver more detailed and reliable status information on the MTA’s website. It has overseen the implementation of improved preparation and response procedures, details of which are summarized below. New York City Transit

New York City Transit is hard at work preparing an impressive fleet of snow and ice-fighting equipment to be sent out into the system in order to keep hundreds of miles of outdoor track and third rail clear of snow and ice when a winter weather plan is put into effect.

After unprecedented conditions during the December 26, 2010 blizzard, NYCT took steps to strengthen storm preparedness and response, including establishing situation rooms, adopting procedures for preemptive curtailment of service and incorporating dedicated customer advocates.

For buses, NYC Transit has worked with the New York City Department of Sanitation to prioritize bus routes for plowing. Sanitation will share real-time plowing information with MTA bus dispatchers during snow events. Metro-North Railroad

Metro-North Railroad also has improved the content and coordination of realtime information with the creation of a Customer Communications Center.

Metro-North has expanded and upgraded its snow-fighting arsenal, adding three new jet turbines, two new snow blowing trucks, 150 upgraded switch heaters, and an additional front-end loader and backhoe.

Metro-North is reconfiguring an older snow-blower to blow snow off of the vulnerable tops of New Haven Line trains. Long Island Rail Road

The LIRR has beefed up its Public Information Office and centralized all customer communication efforts.

The LIRR has prepared and strategically pre-positioned its fleet of snow fighting equipment with full preventative maintenance servicing and functional testing. The fleet includes a new ballast regulator/snow fighter designed for removal of snow on our main track and in yards and three new jet snow blowers. MTA Bridges and Tunnels

MTA Bridges and Tunnels crews are hard at work getting its snow and icefighting equipment ready to battle the upcoming winter weather, including storing 9,000 tons of deicer and preparing its fleet of 102 trucks.

The snow-fighting fleet includes 45 vehicles equipped with ground temperature sensors. These sensors tell the operator and bridge managers if the roadway is in danger of freezing.

Bridges are equipped with imbedded roadway sensors for temperature and above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication.

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