Public Announcements for Commuter Rail


Our regular client, a leading technology company operating in global railway transportation, needed to reduce traffic congestion within the four-county area in the US. To manage this, it was decided to convert the existing freight rail line to heavy-rail by deploying commuter rail services. Thus, our client needed to adjust 61 miles of the existing rail line for passenger transportation.


Client Challenge

Implement passenger transportation along a stretch of existing freight rail tracks.

Project Objective

Ensure automatic audio and visual notification to passengers for train arrivals, departures, and schedule deviations utilizing a centralized system deployed on the existing freight rail line.


To provide automatic data delivery on train status updates to the passenger notification system, we customized the existing Traffic Control System (TCS) deployed on the freight rail. Our engineering team implemented a communications interface between the back office and both the Public Announcement (PA) system providing audio messages, and the Variable Message Signs (VMS) system providing visual notifications to commuters. It allowed delivery of actual and scheduled arrival times to be published at stations.

To mitigate implementation risk associated with the Linux-based backend server and Windows-based display system, PSA sent an engineer onsite to review the requirements and assess the potential risks of implementation.

The updated TCS became capable of the following actions:

  • Accept dispatcher train calls for entry of new trains into the controlled territory

  • Monitor & update train positions through the controlled territory

  • Calculate the predicted arrival for each train at each station and report against the station’s expected arrival

  • Based on schedule information predict the station’s arrival track and associated platform(s)

  • Report any special service characteristics for the arriving train’s station

To allow for the future scalability of the system, we organized train arrival data provision as a separate subsystem. To promote security, our team ensured the train arrival information was available only for a network firewall-protected account from the PA/ VMS system’s head-end server. We updated the configuration database and Rail Network Display to support the Platform Station destination type and added boarding/disembarking operations.

As a result, train schedule management was integrated into the existing TCS functionality in order to support train arrival data provision. Key project documents, such as Interface Communications Design Document, and System Requirements Specification were delivered, which allowed for seamless certification of the rail solution.

To explore more technical details click here.

Development Included

  • Functional requirements definition (onsite)
  • Documentation review
  • Architecture review
  • Software development
  • UI development
  • Documentation creation
  • Unit testing
  • Functional testing
  • Onsite integration testing
  • Follow-on support



  • Train schedule management was implemented for all 16 stations

  • Control for all train types in the managed area within one system

Technology Breakdown

Project size
  • 2 people
  • 10 months

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