Portland Commuter Rail Readies Wi-Fi


Oregon’s Westside Express Service (WES) will provide Wi-Fi for regional Commuter Rail, according to John Fall, Communications Coordinator for TriMet Community Affairs in Portland.

The $117.3 million commuter rail system will begin running in October or November, connecting the Beaverton Transit Center, on the West side of Portland with five commuter rail stations along the line in Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. From there, commuters can hop onboard one of Tri-Met’s MAX light rail cars or buses. Wilsonville’s SMART system will provide bus services to Salem on the Southern end.

In an email to DailyWireless, he brought us up to speed on the planned wireless service for WES:

  • The WES WiFi system has been under study since the summer of 2007.
  • Riders will connect to the WiFi SSID on the train, receive a splash screen page with a legal disclaimer, be required to accept the disclaimer, and then be redirected to a specific TriMet Web address. From there, WES riders can surf the Web and access email.
  • TriMet staff developed the design and functionality specifications for the solution. Equipment is currently in the procurement process and will be installed and tested by TriMet staff.
  • The one-time material and installation costs on the WES rail cars will be $13,200. The monthly costs for four cars equals $640, which is $7,680 annually. Again, these costs support maintenance, Transit Tracker and WiFi services for our customers.
  • To add WiFi to the bus and MAX system, the installation costs alone would be close to $1 million to include the entire of fleet of bus and MAX vehicles.
  • TriMet is using existing cellular service contracts [not WiMAX].
  • TriMet utilized internal expertise to compile the financial constraints and functional requirements of the communication system. TriMet also spoke with a number of external resources to determine available technologies and assess the success and functionality of previous implementations in similar environments. This information was used to develop the final system design and equipment features that were required.

Additional DailyWireless articles on Transit Connectivity include; Portland Commuter Rail Wi-Fi, Mobilizing WiFi on Trains & Cars, Chrysler Rolls Out U-connect, Hotspot for Bedouins, TrainFi On the Move, PePWave Mobility: Connectivity for Vehicles, Belair Radios: On the Move, The Connected Bus, Kyocera KR2 Mobile Router, TrainFi: One Million Served, and Free TrainFi in UK.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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