Auto ID Solutions for improving Track Worker Safety in Transportation Sector

Since the advent of rail transportation, the integrity of the rail and track conditions play a significant role in ensuring that trains are able to move people safely. Although this work has been hazardous since rail transportation was created, there have been few successful attempts at improving location awareness of approaching trains and the location of these mobile track inspectors. Typically the mobile inspection crews have no advance warning when a train is approaching, and train crews usually receive system wide broadcasts of where inspection crews are working. While some transit systems have more robust procedures, the work remains hazardous.

Track worker protection is of critical importance in the rail industry around the world. As is the case in North America, the rail industry around the world relies on lookouts and communication to alert track workers to the presence of approaching rail vehicles. Although policies and procedures exist to keep track workers safe, accidents do happen. The goal of this research, and the resulting technology development, will create improved location awareness of track workers and approaching trains to prevent serious injuries and the loss of life.

We are working with Bombardier as well as TTC to identify hazardous operations and to research and develop technology solutions that can be used to provide better location awareness for the track inspection workers as well as the train operators. Our hope is to develop a system that can provide relevant localized information as opposed to relying on system broadcasts that don’t often generate the same attention.

The role of the student would be to assist the team with development of the user interface design. Although the team is exploring various physical and virtual interfaces, the student will be asked to assist with the interface design for the central management system. Activities that the student might undertake would include gathering requirements, designing prototype interfaces and programming those interfaces.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Rafik Loutfy


Anisha Mazumder





Automotive and transportation


McMaster University


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