Modernization projects are about more than looks. They breathe new life into aging infrastructure – MARTA in Atlanta is a case in point.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority – MARTA for short – is one of the largest major transit systems in the United States. Crucial to the economic vitality of the fast-growing Atlanta metropolitan area, the city’s sprawling bus and rail system provides transit to around 115 million passengers each year. In 2016, MARTA turned to Schindler to modernize its fleet of aging escalators and elevators.
Four lines – blue, green, red, and gold – extend into the city, covering around 76 km and serving 38 stations. The decade-long modernization project covers each of these stations, with 109 elevators and 116 escalators. "The escalators and elevators have been in operation for 40 years," says Matthew Johnson, Senior Project Manager at Schindler in charge of modernization. "Some of them are even original Schindler installations."
Five Points – the busiest and most central station – is a hive of activity, with people streaming constantly in and out. At street level, under the treetops, people stand chatting, coffee in hand. Underground, inside the station, Matthew opens a nondescript-looking door, behind which our technicians are busy putting the final touches to an escalator. "This project runs like a well-oiled machine," says Nathan Quarles, Safety Manager at Schindler. "Our employees are well trained, so they make my job easy."
MARTA succeeds if Schindler succeeds, and Schindler succeeds if customers are happy – which means high ride comfort and minimum disruptions.
Jeter Barnhill, Project Manager Capital Programs at MARTA.
Like most public transportation projects, escalators are the primary focus for the MARTA modernization. The team is tasked with modernizing about 60% of the network’s existing escalators, using Schindler InTruss, a proprietary innovative solution for escalator upgrades.
With Schindler InTruss, our technicians do the work on site, making the modernization quicker and more efficient. They dismantle the existing escalators – leaving the truss in place – before they are cleaned and painted. They then fit the escalators with more efficient drive systems, less energy-hungry components, and smarter energy management software.
All the modernized elevators and escalators feature 24/7 remote monitoring. This leads to faster callback response and reduces the need for field visits. "We are making the infrastructure safer and more sustainable with state-of-the-art technology to ensure passengers can continue to use this critical infrastructure," says Matthew. "Fast installation times are key to keeping Atlantans, who rely on their city’s metro system, moving."
In Atlanta, the lockdown closed entire stations temporarily. Not content to sit on the sidelines, our team used this as an opportunity to speed up work on the project. "As soon as we knew it was safe for our people to work, we went full steam ahead. This has made our partnership with MARTA even stronger," says Matthew.
This didn’t get lost on our customer. "Schindler has a very proactive team – especially when it comes to logistics and communication," says Israel Shahdaiah, Resident Engineer at MARTA.
"And communication is crucial – we trust one another."
MARTA’s modernization is just one of a growing number of modernization projects we’re working on around the world. Modernization projects bring more than just esthetic improvements, they breathe new life into aging infrastructure. And, as policymakers around the world are searching for ways to reach ambitious net zero targets, modernization projects can help reduce energy consumption – and help advance the decarbonization of cities.