What is RIDS, and how will it protect BART trains on San Jose extension?

By Jody Meacham

Although BART’s extension to San Jose is still about a year from opening, trains have already run along part of the 10-mile first phase to test a unique security system that can automatically stop trains where the transit system shares right-of-way (but not tracks) with the Union Pacific Railroad.

The Railroad Intrusion Detection System, called RIDS, uses “intelligent video” technology and tilt detectors mounted on the fencing that separates the passenger and freight lines to detect intrusions and, if necessary, stop BART trains before either the operator riding in the train cab or personnel in BART’s Oakland control center are aware of any danger.

“For six months we’ve been throwing various objects over the fence or forcing them through the fence to try to figure out what RIDS could detect,” said Tim Schmidt, a senior associate with Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, the Houston-based engineering firm that's design manager for the extension.

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