Client Story: Tait helps Portland mass transit keep its workers safe

“The Tait system is critical to worker safety”

A.J. O’Connor, TriMet Manager of Intelligent Transportation Systems

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) is the sole provider of mass transit for the Portland Metro region of Oregon, U.S.A. With an average weekday ridership of about 322,000 passengers, they operate around a fleet of 1,426 vehicles, including light rail vehicles, buses, paratransit vehicles and a range of other vehicles for maintenance and field operation.

The Federal Communications Commission had given an order requiring TriMet to narrow-band their old analog 450 UHF system. At this point, TriMet leased half of their radios from the City of Portland and so decided to transition to a single TriMet-owned radio system. Their new solution needed to provide interoperability with related agencies, as well as reliably support and enhance worker safety for employees across their entire network – in emergency situations, as well as day-to-day activities. This is especially vital for Maintenance of Way staff that maintain the light rail network used by the rail vehicles, when trains are in the vicinity of their work.

Along with Tait Communications as the chosen radio supplier, other vendors such as General Electric, Avtec, Xcel and Cobham were chosen to supply other parts of the P25 network. After thorough background checks, TriMet “found that everybody that had worked with Tait in the past loved them,” says A.J. O’Connor, TriMet Manager of Intelligent Transportation Systems. Tait was also chosen for our willingness to customize the solution. TriMet’s new system incorporates a Tait custom solution for AVL, called SPDS (slotted polling data system), which provides high throughput position updates for their public transport fleet.

Transitioning to a digital system powered by Tait radios has provided TriMet with clear, crisp voice communications that give them the crucial, reliable contact they need in daily operations. Confidence in their communications system has increased, and overall productivity has also improved. “The Tait system is critical to worker safety,” notes O’Connor, and gives staff the constant contact with rail control that they need to keep safe.

The new system has also improved safety for bus operators with the silent alarm feature and emergency buttons on the portable radios. Geo-location capabilities provide confidence that if someone needs help and is unable to tell dispatch where they are, dispatch staff will still be able to locate them quickly.

Having experienced the Tait consultative approach, Mr. O’Connor summed up the process of working with Tait and our resilient, reliable products and solutions, saying Tait is “small enough to provide good customer service, large enough to deliver high quality products”.

For more details about the TriMet story, visit their client page or download the PDF. To read or watch more stories from our other clients, click here.

Find out more about Tait products and solutions for transport agencies here.

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