New Jersey, USA

New Jersey Transit


In March 2012, NJ Transit (NJT) awarded Alcatel-Lucent USA (ALU) the first ever TETRA contract in the United States (NJT RFP 11-018 New Bus Radio System). ALU’s subcontractor, PowerTrunk, Inc., was part of the winning proposal with its FCC-certified TETRA-interoperable D-LMR technology (TI D-LMR) and CeCoCo® Computer- Aided-Dispatch (CAD) platform for operation in the 806-824/851-869 MHz band.

The FCC issued a Report and Order on September 21, 2012 to modify the Part 90 of its rules to accept TETRA (emission designator 22K0D7W) in the non-NPSPAC portion of the 800 MHz band, which allowed NJT to upgrade its TI D-LMR license (20K0D7W) to TETRA in January 2013. Today, all NJT base station repeaters and subscribers feature TETRA (22K0D7W) in the 809-824/854-869 MHz band.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest state-wide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 261 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines, and through the Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 61 light rail stations, and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia.

The PowerTrunk TETRA network provides NJ TRANSIT with the first mission-critical land mobile radio system in the United States that has sufficient data capacity to support the voice and data needs of transit operations over a single LMR network. The network significantly enhances the safety and efficiency of existing NJTRANSIT operations because it (1) delivers carrier-grade speech quality, (2) carries data services on a system with mission- critical reliability, and (3) offers higher data capacity which enables advanced data-centric applications.

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New Jersey Transit

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System Architecture and Service Area

The New Jersey Transit PowerTrunk TETRA network provides state-wide coverage along New Jersey bus routes including three light rail systems: Hudson Bergen Light Rail (HBLR), Newark Light Rail (NLR), and River Line Light Rail. Additionally, Academy Bus Company added a base station site in the Midtown area of Manhattan to provide improved radio coverage extending the network into Brooklyn and Queens. This base station is used to support Academy’s bus service routes to the JFK and La Guardia airports.

The system was built with a no-single-point-of-failure architecture for the network core elements and backup control room operations.

Some of the relevant numbers are as follow:

  • 2 geo-redundant system control nodes (SCN) with N2A third-party portal license for external applications (e.g., Clever Devices CAD/AVL).
  • 2 redundant network management servers (NMS).
  • 4,000+ mobiles for revenue and non-revenue buses.
  • 40+ site base stations (SBS).
  • 3 CeCoCo CAD platforms with a total of 21 consoles at Maplewood, Camden, and Newark (NLR backup).
  • 10 mast-mounted base stations (MBS).
  • 150+ mobiles for the NJT light rail lines in New Jersey.
  • 1,000+ portable radios.

Super Bowl XLVIII in NY/NJ

January 2014 saw an important additional expansion phase implemented by PowerTrunk for the NJT state- wide TETRA network beyond the scope of the initial system which went live operationally with the customer earlier in 2013. In this case, the purpose of the network expansion was to directly support NJT’s bus and light rail operations for a major and one of the largest sporting events in the world, Super Bowl XLVIII.

Apart from the typical normal daily use, extremely high demand was anticipated to be placed on the NJT public transportation system during the Super Bowl, and consequently, on the supporting communications networks. A high-priority expansion project was therefore undertaken by NJT to augment and reinforce the TETRA network capacity in the area surrounding Newark and New York City in direct relation to this event.

Special attention was particularly given to assuring indoor TETRA network coverage for the major transit hubs in the area handling the thousands of passengers to be traveling on game day to and from the Met Life Stadium where the Super Bowl was held. NJT’s Secaucus Junction Station was the most vital of these, being the hub through which all passengers had to pass before reaching the end of the line at the stadium. Across the Hudson River in New York City, indoor TETRA stations were likewise installed for New York Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The Academy Bus Company provides service for NJT in the New Jersey and New York areas, and in fact its base station was one of the busiest sites of the entire TETRA network for the Super Bowl.

In addition to adding network capacity and deploying the in-building TETRA stations to expand the TETRA core network and the bus and light rail terminals already in operation, NJT’s Super Bowl Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was equipped with PowerTrunk MDT-400 TETRA radio equipment integrated with Telex IP-223 gateways for use with the Telex C-Soft console solution. This, together with about 300 PowerTrunk HTT- 500 TETRA portable radios, allowed NJT Customer Service “Ambassadors” and Bus Operations personnel to effectively communicate over the TETRA network to control the flow of and provide assistance to visitors and travelers during the event.

Furthermore, the GPS modules of the handheld and mobile TETRA radios and the use of PowerTrunk’s Synchronous Data Manager (SDM) application enabled NJT dispatch operators from their Maplewood control center and certain other key locations to monitor the movement and positions of all TETRA users in the network in real time, enhancing security.

The increase in the traffic load of the NJT TETRA system during the Super Bowl week was dramatic. For the week of preparation leading up to the Super Bowl, the TETRA network handled over 12,000 calls per day in the area, which was slightly more than double of what had been seen on a daily basis in the network up until that time. On the day of the Super Bowl itself, the amount of call traffic temporarily decreased during the time in which the game was actually in progress, but then immediately sharply spiked again upward just as soon as it ended and all the spectators began their respective journeys back home, again heavily dependent on the New Jersey Transit public transportation system to see them on their way.

In the end, the Super Bowl was a highly successful “trial by fire” of the PowerTrunk TETRA system for NJT, with no significant problems taking place, proving the viability of TETRA as a technology for supporting massive and high-visibility events and fully assuring the safety and security of operational personnel and passengers alike.

Technology that we used

TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) is the accepted digital radio standard for critical communications. TETRA is an open standard where the focus is on meeting the critical communications needs of public safety and security agencies and an increasingly wide range of other market sectors. The technology has been standardized by ETSI (The European Telecommunications Standards Institute).


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