BART Signs Deal to Upgrade Transit Technology

IBM's Smarter Planet project, which uses technology (and sometimes plain old polling) in an effort to revamp urban infrastructure, today signed deals with transit agencies based in Oakland, New York City, and Washington D.C. to "smartly" manage the ins and outs of keeping trains and buses running.

BART, New York's LIRR, and Washington D.C.'s Metro plan to install the Maximo software, a program that anticipates and schedules preventive maintenance on rail cars, tracks, buses, and other equipment.

"There are thousands of people and parts responsible for making sure that our trains arrive on time and deliver our passengers safely to their destinations,” Randall Franklin, BART Program Director for Business Advancement, said in a statement. "Because we are managing an aging fleet while planning for the future, the efficiency of BART requires visibility across all of our assets to provide safe and uninterrupted railway services to our customers."

The move could prove particularly beneficial for D.C., which was urged by federal safety regulators to phase out the older rail car model that was involved in a fatal accident in June but found itself short of cash to fund a full-cale replacement. In a statement on the IBM deal, Metro's deputy information technology chief said a recent meeting with China's Guangzhou Metro, which also uses Maximo, helped pave the way for the agreement.