Bombardier sets new standards in tram safety

Posted: 18 October 2013 | Bombardier | No comments yet

In future, Bombardier trams will be able detect obstacles and correctly assess their potential danger…

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Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation announced today that the innovative driver assistance system for its trams will set new safety standards according to initial real-time tests. In future, Bombardier trams will be able detect obstacles and correctly assess their potential danger. A specially developed optical 3D sensor system will make trams and light rail vehicles proactive and thereby even safer. The system is currently undergoing tests on a Bombardier tram operated by the Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt (VGF) (Frankfurt Transport Company).

“This is a significant milestone in the development of a system that promises increased protection for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists,” said Bruno Kittner, Site General Manager Vienna, Bombardier Transportation, as he presented the system to journalists in Vienna. The ongoing tests have already generated promising results: The tram accurately monitors the path in front of the vehicle to a distance of more than 60 m and automatically identifies and pinpoints potential hazards.

The new safety system has been developed by Bombardier together with the local research partner AIT Austrian Institute of Technology in Vienna, where Bombardier’s global light rail competence center is located. The 3D stereovision system will be offered for the entire range of Bombardier trams and light rail vehicles from the end of 2014, among them the BOMBARDIER FLEXITY 100% low-floor trams that are manufactured at the Vienna site.

The production facility in Vienna is currently delivering the first tram of the new batch of 100% low-floor trams for the city of Marseille, in France. The tram’s unique design pays homage to the maritime tradition of the port of Marseille and is considered one of the most beautiful trams in the world by many observers. The driver’s cab looks reminiscent of an ocean liner while the upper part of the sides evokes the look of timber planks. With its big windows and plain white finish, this low-floor tram resembles a yacht rather than a light rail vehicle.

Bombardier Transportation won the original contract for the first complete stainless steel vehicle in December 2004. Marseille already has 26 Bombardier trams in daily revenue service and ordered another six trams, the first of which was handed to the new owners today. The new trams will be longer with seven modules and can transport approximately 25 per cent more passengers. The first 26 trams were originally delivered as five-module trams. The modular concept has made it possible to extend these vehicles by two modules, which were manufactured in Vienna and integrated in Marseille.

Pierre Saracino, Tram Director of the Communaute Urbaine Marseille Provence Metropole, said: “Bombardier Transportation has convinced us with its flexibility. The extension project from five to seven modules was perfectly implemented in Marseille without additional tools and without affecting operation. Today we transport 261 instead of 200 passengers per tram.”

The Marseille tram has the same advantages as all the members of the modular FLEXITY family. Apart from being able to tailor the vehicles to customer requirements also at a later stage, this construction concept offers wide passageways and ample multi-purpose areas. This not only ensures rapid passenger flow but also provides sufficient space for transporting prams. Mobility impaired passengers benefit from a larger space for wheelchairs.

The modular concept also makes maintenance and repairs much easier. A damaged driver’s cab, for example, can be replaced in less than a day allowing the tram to re-enter service while the damage is being repaired at the depot. The vehicle also comes equipped with conventional wheel-set bogies, which guarantee a smooth ride and minimize maintenance costs.

Based on these technical features, Bombardier has developed a unique service concept which is already in successful operation in Linz. The customer pays a fixed price per kilometer for the services rendered. The services are implemented by customer’s employees at the cost of Bombardier, guaranteeing jobs at the transport operator. In Linz, 23 FLEXITY trams are being serviced in this way for a period of 16 years.

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