sUAS-Based GeoINTEL for Commuter Rail Parking in Rual and Suburban Areas

Commuter rail services bring travelers from the rural and suburban fringes to the inner neighborhoods and central business districts (CBDs) of many large metropolitan areas in the U.S. The isolated nature of these rural and suburban commuter rail parking lots makes it difficult and expensive to secure and safely operate these transit assets. Further, as the more than two dozen commuter rail systems in the U.S. try to avoid cash payments for parking fees, they must embrace consumer friendly options such as mobile phone-based payment systems. These payment systems are not standardized and nor are they easily integrated into large databases for “big data” analysis. Using autonomous flight modes, small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) can provide high resolution imagery that can document each individual vehicle parked in a specific parking space at a specific date and time. The speed at which this data can be collected is at least four times faster than current methods. The goal of this study is to develop, and field test, a prototype of sUAS and geospatial intelligence (GeoINTEL) technology in a “LivingLab” to enhance the safety, security, and asset management at small urban and rural commuter rail parking areas. The primary objectives of this research are: (1) To develop a prototype sUAS technology application that can be applied in a cost-effective manner by regional transit agencies managing commuter rail parking facilities in small urban and rural areas with existing staff and within the rules and regulations of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). (2) To develop a prototype geospatial analysis application that uses commercially-available off the shelf (COTS) software and hardware that can enhance the safety and security of commuter rail parking lots and provide parking revenue validation using existing transit planning and transit safety and security personnel. (3) To develop and publish a systems engineering approach for the project that can be readily used by local FAA Part 107-certified remote pilots and transit safety and security personnel to continually update sUAS and geospatial intelligence hardware and software.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $100000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-04, IDEA 90

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Fitzpatrick, Velvet

  • Performing Organizations:

    Harman Consulting, LLC

  • Principal Investigators:

    Harman, Lawrence

  • Start Date: 20190429
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01675049
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-04, IDEA 90
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 16 2018 3:03PM