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In The News MTA tests new UWB technology on L line aimed to speed up train service


NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — A new technology that may lead to a major increase in service will begin to be tested on the L train line according to the MTA.

Train operators were sent a memo on Thursday showed that there was an ultra-wideband, or UWB signaling equipment installed along the subway line that MTA officials are ready to test out.

If the tests are proven to be effective, the technology could allow trains to run closer together and at higher speeds, according to NYC Transit President Andy Byford.

Some transit experts consider UWB to be a complement to communication-based train control, which is an automated system that currently manages train service on the L line.

In April, Gov. Cuomo in April urged transit officials to take a harder look at UWB, adding that communications-based train control was “designed in the ’80s,” .

“It’s important to note that, A, it’s not a fully-fledged signaling system and, B, it is not yet safety certified,” Byford said, adding that he is “very excited about it.”

Byford said UWB testing will last several months in order to allow his team to determine how successful it is. The MTA will also run a similar UWB test on the 7 line since it is the only other section of the subway equipped with communications-based train control.

Currently, MTA officials can run 20 trains per hour on the L line, with the signal system allowing the to run 22 trains per hour, but do not possess the electrical capacity on the line to do so.

According toe Byford, the MTA will have more electrical capacity by the end of the L train construction next summer, allowing quicker run times, but service could improve even more if the UWB technology works.

The MTA has two different companies testing out their UWB technology on the subway at the moment.

The 7 train has San Diego-based Piper Networks testing their technology while the L line while Massachusetts-based Humatics is getting a shot at the L line.

Under the MTA’s $51.5 billion capital plan, six more more sections of subway track would be upgraded to modern signaling equipment over the next five years.