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OC Transpo Ottawa Metro Rail – Success Story

OC Transpo Train arriving at uOttawa Station


  • Develop a world class fully integrated and centralized control and communication system.
  • Simplify day-to-day operations.
  • Ensure reliability and performance now and for future expansions.


  • Meet strict safety regulations, including SIL 2 for the Tunnel Ventilation System.
  • Facilitate efficient interactions between different functional groups, such as security and operations since both use CCTV.
  • Provide alarm management which mirrors operational procedures and actual behaviours.


  • Delivered our original scope on time and on budget.
  • Successful launch, smooth operations, and reliable support.
  • Aligned with plans for future expansion of multiple lines.

OC Transpo Ottawa Metro Rail ICCS Solution

OC Transpo, entrusted with the public transit in Canada’s capital city, is a Customer who embraces integration. OC Transpo sought a solution for their expanding metro rail, O-Train, that would enable the integration of both control (SCADA) and communications, including multimedia. They were looking for a flexible integration Partner, and chose Willowglen to provide our enterprise Integrated Control and Communication System (ICCS) solution, SCADACOM.

The O-Train Confederation Line saw the introduction of a modern light rail transit service to Ottawa, Canada. The O-Train is a multimodal light metro system consisting of two lines, east–west electrified Confederation Line (Line 1) and the north–south diesel-powered Trillium Line (Line 2).

Along with our ICCS, Willowglen provided Station E&M and Traction Power RTUs, project management, professional software development, configuration, and integration services for the Confederation Line. At the time, we delivered our latest generation SCADA (SCADACOM6) server and workstation products for the Transit Services Control Centre, Back-Up Control Centre, and Yard Control Centre.

The Team at Willowglen worked closely with teams from Ottawa Light Rail Constructors (OLRTC JV), OC Transpo (the operators), the City of Ottawa, and various sub-system providers (Alstom, TG Baker, IndigoVision, and more) to clarify needs and consider optimal design features to keep the project on track while meeting end-user expectations. Our proven project management philosophy enabled clear paths of communication to empower our experienced business analysts, solution architects, engineers, and managers to interact directly with all necessary stakeholders to ensure end-to-end clarity on all matters. Our project management skills, honed over our 50 years of operation, is what ultimately led to on time delivery of our entire system and exceptional customer satisfaction. For continuity, we provide reliable 24/7 support by many of the same engineers who worked on the original project and subsequent scopes of work.


ICCS Integrations

As the ICCS provider, a big part of what we do is work with different vendors and technology providers. We have established relationships with many vendors over the years, which our clients appreciate as it improves communication and creates efficiencies on projects. Willowglen integrated 26 different subsystems, from 12 separate vendors, for the O-Train Confederation Line. We will highlight three of the most impactful integrations for OC Transpo in more detail. Below is the complete list of integrations as well as the vendors and technology providers for each subsystem.

Our Integrations Including Vendors and Technology Providers

Legend: Vendor | Technology Provider

Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) – City of Ottawa

  • Performance Management System (PMS) – City of Ottawa

Building Automation Systems (BAS) – Trane | Willowglen Systems RTUs | BACnet

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) – Johnson Controls |

Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) – Thales

Communication Transmission System (CTS) – Connex

Fence Intrusion Detection System (FIDS) – Protech VideoWave’s Maxibus GFENCE 3000 with Portalis Gate System

Fire Detection Alarm System (FDAS) – Vipond

Guideway Intrusion Detection System (GIDS) – Molinari

Network Management System (NMS) – Connex

Non-Revenue Vehicle Location System (NRVL) – Willowglen Systems

Onboard Systems – Alstom

  • Advanced Passenger Counting (APC) – Alstom
  • Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) – Alstom | IndigoVision
  • High Speed Data Radio (HSDR) – Alstom
  • Incorrect Operation States (ISO) – Alstom

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) – Willowglen Systems

Telephone System – Allstream | Mitel | Guardian

Tunnel Ventilation System (TVS) – SNC Lavalin | SIL | CIP | Rockwell PLCs

Traction Power Sub System (TPSS) – Siemens | Siemens PLCs | Willowglen Systems RTUs

Wayside Passenger Information System (PIS) – T.G. Baker Americas Inc (TGBA)

  • Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) – TGBA
  • Public Announcement (PA) – TGBA

Legend: Vendor | Technology Provider


Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) System Integration

Parallel Acknowledgements and Display Assignments


OC Transpo wanted any unusual activity (motion, infrared, other CCTV visual processing) detected by the CCTV system to generate an alarm.


  • Frees operators from duplicating actions they’d have to do multiple times per hour.
  • Improves ability to rely on the CCTV system and ICCS.
  • CCTV always runs in parallel to the ICCS because CCTV handles the video streams.

How OC Transpo’s CCTV Integration Works

The CCTV detects unusual activity via a third-party video analytics software and generates an alarm that  is relayed to the ICCS. The operator can either acknowledge the alarm on ICCS or the CCTV system. Both systems notify each other automatically, keeping all acknowledgements in sync. As a result, the operator only has to acknowledge the alarm once, which is a major time saver.


The CCTV system detects unusual activity, it generates an alarm and alerts both security and operations teams. The operations team sees the alarm first on the ICCS. The operator simply drags and drops the CCTV feed to the desired monitor on the video wall while using the ICCS. When the operator acknowledges the CCTV alarm, the ICCS automatically acknowledges the same alarm on the CCTV system so the security team knows someone is working on it.

Dealing with alarms is a day-to-day activity for operators. Metro rail operators typically receive 3-5 alarms per hour. The CCTV integration ensures that OC Transpo operators only deal with the important notifications and allows for CCTV alarm management to be as efficient as possible.


Integrations Helping O-Train To Be 100% Accessible


OC Transpo has a goal of making  the O-Train 100% accessible, so extra attention was placed on the Passenger Announcement (PA), Passenger Information Systems (PIS), and Passenger Information Display System (PIDS) integrations.


  • Passengers can safely and reliably access and use the O-Train.
  • Less Passenger incidents occur, reducing demand on operational resources.


A visually impaired person uses the O-Train Confederation line to cross downtown Ottawa. To help them board the right train and ensure they know when to disembark, multiple audio announcements are utilized. For example, audio announcements on the train confirm the direction of travel and destination as well as announce each upcoming station as the train travels along the line.

Similarly, for people with hearing impairments the following provisions are in place.

  • Digital signs at several locations along the platform display the expected departure time for each train. Times adjust in real-time according to each train’s progress along the line as it approaches the station.
  • Digital signs inside the train, both in common areas and on the wall in the cooperative seating area, display the destination and upcoming station names. When the train pulls into a station, video messages repeat the station name.
  • Service alerts are shown on the platform displays.

All of these features are enabled by integrating Passenger Announcement (PA), Passenger Information Systems (PIS), and Passenger Information Display System (PIDS). Each metro rail operation is unique and as such we work closely with key stakeholders to ensure all the configuration they require is executed. We recommend configurations based on international standards and industry best practices to ensure the operation is not only compliant but going above and beyond for safety, useability, and accessibility.


Integrations Adding Safety To O-Train Passengers

Safety is a central pillar on which we design, develop, and deploy our solutions. OLRT shares a similar view, as they ensure Customer safety comes first. Two safety-related integrations stand out for this OLRT project – a passenger emergency call that brings CCTV into focus and multimodal fire/smoke response.

Quick Response to Emergency Phones


Improve response time when emergency phones are engaged and automate safety responses.


  • Safety of passengers and staff is significantly increased.
  • Offers a great deal of flexible automation to fit each transit agency’s style of reacting to potential emergencies.


Passenger picks up the emergency phone. ICCS detects when an emergency phone is engaged. ICCS pans, tilts, zooms the nearest CCTV camera to look at who’s calling. From this point there are many optional actions that can be configured.

Response actions can be automatically triggered or manually triggered by an operator. In the case of manual triggering, the system would give the operators a handy list of big buttons they could click instead of having to search for them.

Rapid Multi-Modal Response to Fire/Smoke


In the event that smoke or fire is detected, a rapid multi-modal response is triggered to mitigate casualties, economic loss, and functional disruption.


  • A quick response in an emergency situation is essential for saving lives.
  • Minimizes further risks while protecting property.


Smoke or fire is detected in a tunnel or enclosed station by a Fire Alarm System (FAS)/FACP (Fire Alarm Control Panel) or Building Management System (BMS)/ MEP (Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing) and reported to the ICCS. The ICCS coordinates safety information across multiple systems.

A fire or smoke detection alarm can trigger different types of reactions, including but not limited to the following.

  • ICCS tells the Tunnel Ventilation System (TVS) or BMS to turn on fans to blow in the correct direction for safety purposes.
  • ICCS tells the Gate Intrusion Detection System (GIDS) and Intrusion Access Control (IAC) to turn off so people can use emergency exits and doors that would normally alarm.
  • ICCS tells the Public Announcement system and PI system (display signs) to play automated emergency evac messages (on top of the fire alarm sounds managed directly by the FAS).
  • ICCS turns off Traction Power System (TPS) and other non-essential electrical systems in case the fire is electrical in nature, once Trains no longer need to move out of the area.
  • ICCS tells Trains (STCS, CBTC) at/near the station which way to exit so they don’t run into the fire.
  • ICCS tells Trains outside the station to stop or give way to exiting Trains.

“Tells Trains” – if it is an ATC we provide a safety override. We can also talk to a person, we can talk to either system.

  • ICCS tells Passenger Information Systems (PIS) there is an emergency at this location, kind of like Google Maps showing when and where an accident happened.
  • ICCS dials emergency services through Telephony* if operators are not tasked with doing this manually.

*Telephony = telephone system, hand held device, cellular phone, big yellow safety phone, passenger intercom, etc.

Continuous Improvement

Willowglen Continues with Ottawa’s Rail Improvement Project

Stage 2 of Ottawa’s rail network improvement project involves a three-phased approach to extend both the Confederation Line and the Trillium Line. In phase one, the Trillium Line will be converted to a dual-track system, and it will be extended 16 kilometres in the south. The Airport Link (Line 4), a 4-kilometre system sharing track with the Trillium Line but operating as a distinct segment, is also scheduled to open in September 2022 (phase one). Willowglen is providing the RTUs and our ICCS solution for the phase one extension of Trillium and the Line 4 addition. Similarly, in the second and third phases, Willowglen is facilitating the East and West extensions of the Confederation Line, which is more than doubling its current capacity with 16 new stations!


“When I needed Willowglen to deliver, they delivered. I’m very pleased with the performance of the Willowglen Team and Willowglen’s products on the Ottawa Metro Project.”

Eugene Creamer, Project Director, OLRT Constructors

Once Stage 2 is complete, it will bring 77% of Ottawa residents within 5 km of rail. Willowglen is proud to be part of the great Team helping bring Ottawa’s master rail improvement plan to life.

View or download the one page project overview PDF.

If your rail operation is looking to upgrade, or you are starting a new project,
reach out to us for your SCADA/ICCS needs.

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