Brightline launches new technology to keep railways safe for drivers and pedestrians

Brightline is implementing new technology and authorities are increasing patrols at crossings to keep pedestrians and drivers safe

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Brightline is launching new technology to help keep drivers safe when crossing the tracks, as authorities step up patrols.

“If we see somebody walking along the railroad tracks, that is considered a trespassing in the state of Florida. You will be arrested and prosecuted,” said Major Jason Ochoa, North Miami Beach police.

At least three railway accidents have happened in South Florida in the last month. One accident, taking place in Pompano Beach on Nov. 9, the first day Brightline resumed service following a 20-month pause, because of the pandemic.

51 deaths have also been reported involving Brightline trains.

Brightline executives are studying traffic data and have already installed two red light cameras at two railroad crossings as part of a pilot program.

In three weeks, 500 violations were caught on camera. On Friday, Local 10 News cameras were rolling at a crossing in North Miami Beach and caught some drivers stopped on the tracks.

“That means that more than 500 have driven around the gates. They stopped on the tracks before they were moving forward,” said Robert Gatchell, Brightline Chief of Safety.

The company is sending warnings about the violations for now.

Brightline trains travel across 67 miles, with about 180 crossings along their paths.

The company has spent millions of dollars updating signage and adding fencing to keep pedestrians off the tracks.

New technology like drones and thermal cameras are also being added to spot any problems, like disabled vehicles near or on crossings.

“We are looking at a lot of different technologies to help us in the safety realm as the environment starts to grow. We want to be able to grow as well on the technology route,” said Gatchell.

Any information collected by the red light cameras is likely to be given to law enforcement. The new drones will be kept at station hubs, as the testing of these new technologies continues in the coming months.

For more information on the safety efforts being implemented now, click here.

About the Author:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.