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Darwood delivers a comprehensive look at safety and security in transit systems

subway training arrives at platform
Photo by Tobias on Unsplash
Photo by Tobias on Unsplash
February 28, 2023

The Transit Analytics Lab (TAL) at Mobility Network hosted the virtual seminar "Improving safety and security in transit systems" by Jacqueline Darwood, Program Director, Transit Expansion at City of Toronto, on February 28, 2023.

TAL Director, Professor Amer Shalaby, welcomed attendees to the seminar, and introduced guest speaker Jacqueline Darwood.

Darwood's talk touched on improvements in station planning/design and rail operation and simulation; physical and cyber threats; and much more.

Transit customers rely on transit operators to provide reliable and safe day-to-day public transit services.

You might wonder why I start off by saying this.

Because we all want transit to be reliable, but if it's not safe, and you have either accidents which are deliberate or accidents because of a failure of the system, then, of course, the service breaks, and you're going to have either the absence of the service or delays in the service.

So it's from that standpoint that I tie safety with reliability.

Jacqueline Darwood, "Improving safety and security in transit systems," February 28, 2023.

Researchers at TAL have been working on many of the issues for some time and continue to actively explore how safety and security in transit systems may be improved for all.

Professor Amer Shalaby (L) thanks Jacqueline Darwood for her presentation and engages in a brief discussion before taking audience questions, February 28, 2023. (video recording screen capture)

After the seminar and before taking audience questions, Prof. Shalaby engaged Darwood in a brief discussion, observing that there is increased interest from industry in putting into practice some of TAL's research results and analysis.

"The industry is recognizing the benefit and the strength of such approaches, and [of putting] them to use in planning and operations management."

Professor Amer Shalaby

View Darwood's presentation deck

Watch the video recording of "Improving safety and security in transit systems"


Safety and security in transit systems needs to be considered throughout the life cycle of the system. This therefore means that these considerations should be included at the:

  • Planning phase
  • Design phase
  • Implementation/testing
  • Operations/monitoring

Transit safety and security should be incorporated in all modes; however, my presentation will focus on rail with examples from the TTC Line 1 and the Ottawa Line Extension project. The presentation will look at design elements such as requirements for adequate vertical circulation and platform capacity. Additionally, I will also discuss the tools and technology currently available to simulate the operations based on design elements. I will also use the opportunity to examine the possible application of AI as a means of monitoring the system and the way forward to improving transit safety and security.

About the speaker

head shot of Jacqueline Darwood
Jacqueline Darwood

Jacqueline Darwood is an experienced transit and mobility professional with over 25 years' experience in transit operations/planning, infrastructure planning, project management and policy development. Over the course of her career, she has worked in both the public and private sectors across Canada. She has led and contributed to the planning and design of rapid transit and commuter lines in British Columbia and Ontario with major projects in Ottawa and the GTHA. Her work on several bus networks includes, the TTC Express Bus Network, the MiWay Transit Way, and the redesign of the bus network in the Kingston Metropolitan Region in Jamaica.

To her friends and family, she is known as the entertainer and personal shopper, always ready to host a BBQ, dinner, or a movie night, or simply get lost in the world of music.

About the Transit Analytics Lab (TAL)

The Transit Analytics Lab (TAL) of the University of Toronto was established in 2020 with University of Toronto funding from the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering Dean’s Strategic Fund. It is headed by Professor Amer Shalaby, an expert in urban public transit.

TAL brings together:

  • Transportation and technology researchers from across the University of Toronto;
  • Transit systems in the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area; and
  • Private sector software providers.

TAL aims to undertake a wide range of activities including research and development, creation of a data analytics platform, workshops, an international symposium, education, and professional development training.

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