New digital tools will help crews operate MBTA commuter trains more effectively

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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MBTA rolling out new digital tools to support better operation of commuter trains.

The MBTA commuter rail network is currently rolling out new digital tools to help train operations.

Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), operating partner for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Commuter Rail network, has partnered with cloud-hosted software provider Comply365 to adopt an innovative content management system and mobile application for train crews and other operational personnel. These platforms will further digitize Commuter Rail operations, enhance safety and compliance, and provide new efficiencies, including eliminating the need for train crews to carry large paper manuals.

“We warmly welcome Keolis and their crews across the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Commuter Rail to the Comply365 rail division community,” Comply365 CEO Tom Samuel said. “We are honored they have chosen to partner with us in their transformation to a digital operation, allowing them to enhance the delivery of safe, reliable, and consistent rail services.”

Comply365 is an industry leader in providing operators a user-friendly mobile solution to access the mission-critical information they need at their fingertips, with the ability to quickly search and filter, bookmark, and annotate important documents.

With funding from the MBTA, Comply365’s platform will support Keolis’ digital transformation to electronic content delivery using tablets. The move digitizes rulebooks, bulletins, special instructions, and other operational documents that more than 1,000 train conductors, locomotive engineers, track workers, and other operational personnel are required to carry when operating on the Commuter Rail network. Keolis and the MBTA will be able to more easily verify that important updates to rules and operating procedures have been read and understood by the relevant front-line employees, further enhancing compliance and safety.

“We’ve introduced a number of digital innovations since 2014 in partnership with the MBTA, such as the ability to accept credit cards onboard trains and biometric timeclocks,” said David Scorey, Keolis CEO and General Manager. “This platform will make critical safety and compliance information even more accessible and easier to reference for our operational personnel. Further, updates to these materials will be much easier to administer.”

Certain employees, such as train conductors and engineers, are required to carry and reference rulebooks and other documentation when operating on the railroad. Keolis’ adoption of the Compy365 platform makes MBTA Commuter Rail the first U.S. commuter network to introduce this innovation and digitize its federally-mandated documentation. Similar innovations were introduced in the airline industry when the FAA approved replacing paper manuals with electronic flight bags.

Comply365, whose customers include many of the major airlines around the globe, is leading a similar transformation in the railway industry after investments to enhance its solution for rail users. In addition to Keolis and the MBTA Commuter Rail, Comply365’s rail division has grown to include Canadian National, Amtrak and Norfolk Southern.

“Our depth of experience in transforming the complex aviation industry in similar ways prove our expertise and solutions are leading a pivotal aspect of the rail industry’s digital transformation to shed paper-based documentation,” Samuel said. “It’s exciting to partner with leaders in both rail and aviation organizations who value our vision. There is a lot to be gained by both industries as we collaborate together on their mutual challenges to ensure safe, efficient, and compliant digital operations.”

Categories: Commuter/Regional, News, Passenger, Rail News, Safety/Training, Supplier News, Technology
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