MTA Prepares for Winter Weather With Improved Communication Systems, Snow-Fighting Arsenal

Agency launches improvements, new systems based on lessons learned from last year's December blizzard.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Zach Christman

    Armed with lessons learned from last December's blizzard debacle, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is making preparations to ensure safe, improved service this time around.

    The MTA said it has improved customer communication practices, instituted new response procedures and upgraded storm-fighting equipment to combat potential snow and ice storms this winter.

    The agency has also appointed an emergency coordinator to facilitate MTA-wide storm response coordination and information sharing and plans to focus on delivering timely, accurate information online.

    Here are some of the details of the MTA's winter preparedness plan:

    New York City Transit

    • New York City Transit is preparing a fleet of snow and ice-fighting equipment to be sent out into the system in order to keep hundreds of miles of outdoor track and third rail clear of snow and ice when a winter weather plan is put into effect.
    • After last winter, NYCT established situation rooms, adopted procedures for preemptive curtailment of service and trained customer advocates.
    • For buses, NYC Transit has worked with the New York City Department of Sanitation to prioritize bus routes for plowing. Sanitation will share real-time plowing information with dispatchers during snow events.

    Metro-North Railroad

    • Metro-North Railroad said it also has improved the content and coordination of real-time information with the creation of a Customer Communications Center.
    • Metro-North has expanded and upgraded its snow-fighting arsenal, adding three new jet turbines, two new snow-blowing trucks, 150 upgraded switch heaters, and an additional front-end loader and backhoe.
    • Metro-North is reconfiguring an older snow-blower to blow snow off of the vulnerable tops of New Haven Line trains.

    Long Island Rail Road

    • The LIRR said it has beefed up its Public Information Office and centralized all customer communication efforts.
    • The LIRR has positioned a fleet of equipment, including a new ballast regulator/snow fighter designed for removal of snow on the main tracks and in yards and three new jet snow blowers.

    MTA Bridges and Tunnels

    • MTA Bridges and Tunnels crews are storing 9,000 tons of de-icer and preparing their fleet of 102 trucks.
    • The snow-fighting fleet includes 45 vehicles equipped with ground temperature sensors. These sensors tell the operator and bridge managers if the roadway is in danger of freezing.
    • Bridges are equipped with embedded roadway sensors for temperature and above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication.