Biometric technology trials expanded to boost light rail safety

In the wake of the tragic accident at Sandilands, the light rail industry started to look at ways of boosting safety with one pioneering project using biometric technology. FOCUS+, the result of a partnership driven by UKTram and Edinburgh Trams, aims to monitor the fatigue levels of key employees.

It uses compact, wearable devices and can also alert operators to other wellbeing issues that may impact on safety. After an initial trial in Edinburgh it has now being extended nationwide with other operators getting involved.

Dan Hill, Technical Officer at UKTram, said: “Initial trials in Edinburgh have provided a wealth of useful data, demonstrating the potential of FOCUS+ to further improve light rail safety. Now 36 devices have been distributed amongst volunteers from networks in Edinburgh, Blackpool, Manchester and Sheffield, as well as at UKTram to further demonstrate the potential benefits of the system.”

Since testing on earlier prototypes, commercial partner IHF Ltd has made the devices easier to wear and improved algorithms to better understand the data they captured and to identify overall trends.

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