Metra Board Awards $3.9M Monitoring Contract to ClearBlade

Written by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
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David C. Lester

Chicago Metra’s board approved a $3.9 Million contract with ClearBlade, an IoT Platform and Edge AI company, to provide grade crossing and equipment monitoring services at hundreds of locations throughout the transit network.

The agency serves downtown Chicago with 242 stations spread across 11 routes totaling nearly 500 route miles and approximately 1,200 miles of track. Metra runs 646 weekday trains, 24 railyards, 565 grade crossings, 12 fuel facilities, and 847 bridges.

Metra issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on May 10, 2022, seeking qualified firms to provide an essential rail crossing safety solution. Metra is required to maintain, inspect, and test grade crossing warning devices as well as all interlocking signals on a regular basis.

The remote monitoring solution for grade crossings will deploy a real-time grade crossing notification and warning solution for grade crossing anomalies and events, allowing critical devices to be monitored and repaired quickly.

Metra’s requirements included a flexible and modular Edge and back-office platform for monitoring all wayside assets including grade crossings; positive train control wayside systems; snow melter systems; track circuits; switch machines; power systems.

ClearBlade was awarded the contract to implement Metra’s required grade crossing monitoring systems because of the company’s prior experience in implementing IoT technologies into rail systems, a release said. ClearBlade’s Edge software is being used by multiple rail operators to process field equipment data and stream events to ClearBlade’s back-office platform. 

“ClearBlade is a game changer for our rail operations. Their platform and edge software’s flexibility and ease of use will allow us to monitor critical rail infrastructure and improve efficiency,” said Alan Bakotic, Senior Director PTC and Engineering at Metra. 

Eric Simone, co-founder and CEO of ClearBlade, said the company has been delivering flexible, secure, and scalable software for IoT and Edge since 2007. 

“The rail industry is one of our primary verticals and we are extremely excited to be selected by Chicago Metra to provide this critical functionality,” Simone said.