DART Public Address and Visual Messaging System

Client – Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas, TX
Construction Value – Approximately $5M
Completion Date  – 2012

As a part of an overall initiative to improve on real time communication with the patrons, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) choose to upgrade up to thirty three (33) of the existing stations and equip them with advanced integrated electronic visual messaging and audio system.

The new public address and visual messaging system allows DART to provide passengers with real time train arrival information, schedules, events, emergency alerts, potential delays, and travel information. The project scope included upgrade and modification of the operations and equipment room facilities, software modification, software development, system and equipment upgrades, communications network upgrade, upgrade of the train control center, and integration of entire control system including the voice and data.

Providing Project Management, ACI successfully managed delivery of multiple design packages that included:publicaddressdarttn

  • Modification of existing station platforms to add conduits, cabinets, power with backed-up batteries, and stanchions for the signs;
  • Design and implementation of the public address and dynamic visual messaging system equipped with visible flashing alerts;
  • Providing remote access from the central control room to each station sign. Operator could remotely send ad-hoc messages from his work station located at the central control room;
  • Integration of new public address and visual messaging system into the existing PA/CIS and VBS systems;
  • Effective design to allow required data transmission based on unique communications capabilities at each station.

The most important and challenging design feature was integration into the existing operating system where vendors are different and each has its own communications protocols. Our seasoned project manager recognized this risk early in the project, and was able to resolve the issue and eliminate future contract changes, scheduled delays, and potential claims.

The challenge was to design the interface such that it would allow a seamless integration, and allow fair competition without going through “sole source” procurement. The final design products and solicitations were properly designed, clearly defining system handshaking, protocols, and interfaces. This ensured seamless interface with the existing Public Address/ Visual Messaging Boards, and Vehicle Business Systems.