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Metro tests new technology to improve safety

Metro tests new technology to improve safety. (ABC7)

Out on the tracks, brand new technology being tested, all in the name of safety.

"You want as many layers of protection," says Metro's Chief Safety Officer, Pat Lavin.

The two-way communication system, called Protran, alerts tracks workers and train operators to one another.

A worker out on the tracks wears an arm band and when a train is approaching, the alert system on the band is activated.

At the same time the train operator going through that area gets a visual alert - amber lights begin flashing.

The initial system testing is being done along the tracks around the Reagan National Airport Metro station - the same area where last Fall FTA safety inspectors were forced to jump out of the way when a train came through the tracks they were inspecting.

"We had done some pilots prior to that event but i think that accelerated it and heightened the urgency to get it done quicker," adds Lavin.

This technology is already being used at a number of other transit authorities including the Maryland Transit Administration where Metro's General Manager, Paul Wiedefeld, used to serve as administrator.

"We've been in revenue service for over 8 years and in every one of those properties we've had zero fatalities and close calls reduced to close to zero.

Metro has found 16 hot spots on the track that could potentially be hazardous to employees where they now plan to deploy this system.

Metro hopes to have all 16 locations complete by 2019.

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