GE Make Strides Towards “Conductorless” Trains

Projections based off current freight rail growth suggest freight traffic will increase 90% by 2035. Although the rails need to accommodate for this growth, there is still only so much space to expand the rails. GE has been creating solutions to reduce traffic between freight cars and reduce the projected increase in pollution. GE’s Trip Optimizer system strives to use data affiliated with existing train types and train rails to reduce fuel efficiency. Most emissions in freight rails coming from speed variations and standing trains and Trip Optimizer seeks focus on constant, consistent travel, rather than speed, which can lead to traffic jams and track holdups. The Trip Optimizer system studies the typical speeds of engineers on routes and then takes the chooses more gradual changes in speed for the same routes. This reduces average moving time speed, but significantly reduces waiting time and energy used.

The Trip Optimizer system studies the typical speeds of engineers on routes and then takes the chooses more gradual changes in speed for the same routes.

The Trip Optimizer system studies the typical speeds of engineers on routes and then takes the chooses more gradual changes in speed for the same routes.

This technology communicates with GE’s RailEdge technology. This technology communicates with other trains in the network to avoid intersections and traffic jams. This system is made to compensate for any speed lost from the Trip Optimizer. The CEO of GE Transportation explains, “RailEdge optimizes the railroad resources that are already in place — something that only technology can truly help us achieve.” Through these systems freight routes and exact speeds are determined and given to the engineers onboard live.

RailEdge Console



Copenhagen Urban Data Collection

Attached is the website for the Copenhagen Wheel. This program was a joint project between MIT and the city of Copenhagen. Attached to each wheel is sensors that detect CO2, NOx, traffic, and noise to give a geo spatial evaluation of all of these factors within Copenhagen. This information is accessible through your iPhone


Chicago: Worst Traffic Congestion Nationally

A study done in December of 2012 by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute listed Chicago as having the worst traffic congestion. Annually, a driver spends an average of 38 hours in non-moving traffic, while the average is closer to 70 hours in Chicago. Each year this transportation insitute realases an Urban Mobility Report. 2012 Report

Further Traffic Congestion News Headlines

Select Reading Quotes, Further Traffic Congestion News Headlines and Chicago Smart Grid News Headlines

From the above articles, one can see that congestion in Chicago does not only apply to car transportation. Issues are raised about Chicago’s trains, from the freight trains to the ‘El’. A new York Times article claims that freight trains generally can reach Chicago from LA in 48 hours, but can take up to 30 hours to make it through the Chicago. Chicago is widely known throughout the freight industry as America’s speedbump, which would be completely inaccurate if it was the mid-1800’s. New York Times Article

All this being said, Chicago is making strides to decrease congestion, particularly in the public transit systems, replacing much of the red line and the Wells St. Bridge along the North Loop. These changes are yet to show if they make much change, but has caused temporary closings of 3 of the 8 train lines. Some sources even suggest that the addition employees for these projects are not only holding up the transit system, but also the creating more commuters, which creates even more traffic.

Illinois statewide GIS information on traffic can be found on the Illinois Dept. of Tansportation. 2011 traffic data can be found below (on the left).

GIS Transportion Data and GIS Experimentation

GIS Transportion Data and GIS Experimentation

Some research was also done on the new Chicago Smart Grid system, which is an interesting new technology system that tracks and reroutes energy to prevent power outages and reduce the length of power outages when there is one. See below links for further news articles and the Illinois Dept. of Transportation.

CTA Closed for Bridge Construction
Worst Traffic Congestion In The U.S.: Chicago Ranked Most Congested
CTA Riders Feel Effects of Red Line Construction
More jobs means worse traffic congestion
Chicago No. 1 in road congestion
‘Smart grid’ holds promise, but problems await
GE, ComEd sign $200MM Chicago Smart Grid deal
Smart Grid Innovation

Illinois Department of Transportation GIS Traffic Page