Railway RFID Solutions

Download GAO’s RFID Solutions for the Railway Industry

Rail Transportation Systems face a complex set of economic and operational challenges such as competitive freight pricing, maximizing asset utilization, competition with trucking, controlling capital expenditure levels, industry consolidation and worker safety issues. RFID technology applications from GAO RFID help the rail transportation industry to improve revenue growth by reducing costs through improved efficiencies in operations, maintenance, asset utilization, and capacity management.

The GAO RFID systems technology provides exact location and status of any individual rail car This enables timely, accurate and integral information and decision assistance for the management of train transportation and the customer. GAO RFID provides end-to-end Railroad / Transit application management services


Railway RFID SolutionsA GAO RFID Railway system is available in a number of configurations designed to economically meet a full range of service requirements. Reader systems provide automated tracking of railcars via RFID tags, and make railcar location information available to railroads for asset management and other purposes.

  • Traffic and Passenger Information: The system provides accurate and reliable information about where a train is located. This real-time information is forwarded to IT systems and can bre used to update the passenger information displays at stations and terminals.
  • Operation and Maintenance: Precise information about the configuration of wagons within a train can be provided automatically by the system. This information can be integrated with other systems such as track inspection systems, so that the recorded information can be automatically matched to the actual wagon, thus eliminating errors.
  • Location of the Train: The System with the help of the reader determines the location of the train by reading the tag identity as the train passes over the tag at speed. This location data is transferred to the onboard system and can be used to update passenger information automatically
  • Controlling and Positioning of Trains: Some onboard systems require a precise position of the train, for example to control stopping positions. The reader accurately reports the position when the train passes over an ID-tag.

In combination with requirements new applications can be rapidly prototyped and deployed. In addition to the standard configuration, our team of experienced engineers can design systems to meet specific application requirements. Some of the customized applications developed to integrate with the system

  • Track Inspection System
  • Signal Asset Tracking System
  • Safety Audit
  • Inventory and Maintenance
  • Equipment Distribution and Management
  • Car Accounting Systems
  • Rail Yard Information Management

Features & Benefits

  • The System stores tag data including time, date, train direction and speed.
  • It also responds to inquiries via modem.
  • Timely data to increase capacity, speed, automation and operational flexibility
  • Arrival and departure data for signal and control operations

Custom Rail Solutions

GAO has provided a number of rail solutions for use worldwide including solutions for speed detection with emergency breaking, trackside worker safety and location of rail cars within the rail yard.

Speed detection System

GAO RFID is supplying an RFID Speed Detection system for one of the world’s largest rail-equipment manufacturers for use in two of its projects in South America and the Middle East.

This system uses a combination of passive UHF tags, Semi-passive tags, and a custom unit containing an RFID reader, Antenna and, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). In general, the system indicates when a rail car is entering restricted and non-restricted speed areas, and monitors the speed of the rail car to apply emergency braking if it exceeds speed restrictions.

The custom unit, built by GAO RFID, contains the reader and is mounted on the rail car. RFID tags with various IDs are placed near the track. As the train passes different tag sequences it is able to read the tag IDs and depending on that sequence it generates specific IO signals. As well, it is able to monitor the train’s speed. These signals are then sent to the train’s logic module which is able to control the train’s speed and also apply the train’s emergency breaking system if necessary.


railway-rfidTrackside worker safety is one of the leading safety concerns around the world. Workers are constantly exposed to risk when working anywhere along a rail line. This held true for a Midwest public subway system operator who looked to GAO for a solution to identify where and when trackside personnel were working and to reduce the risk to them. Using RFID and a peripheral voice alert device, designed and developed by GAO, train operators are notified in real time where work crews are located giving the train operator ample time to implement slowdown and proceed with caution procedures or stop the train.

metro_subway_periphal_unit_rfid_readerThe trackside safety initiative is just one example of how new applications can be rapidly prototyped and deployed. In addition to standard configurations GAO’s team of experienced engineers can design systems to meet specific application requirements.

metro_subway_periphal_unitIn this case the metro subway operator decided to go one step further and had GAO build into the system further information on the trains and instructions to its operators. The peripheral readers also detect when they are entering a terminal and provide further instruction to the operators such as which doors should be opened, as well, it provides additional general purpose input output (GPIO) controllers extending the RFID reader’s ability to control other devices.

GAO has implemented a similar system for a Canadian rail operator in British Columbia in this case allowing them to determine the location of any car within their rail yard.

We Have Your Solution

From consulting, planning, product choice, software, and support, GAO’s team is able to help you craft a timely solution according to your unique requirements. RFID applications from GAO RFID help help improve revenue, reduce costs and increase worker safety.  Contact us today to see how we can help!