New technology minimizes graffiti on Canadian transit vehicles

MONTREAL -- Canadian municipalities have been accelerating the fight against graffiti by requiring new transit vehicles to contain built-in protections to minimize the street art considered an urban scourge by some.

See Full Article

Montreal's new Metro cars and Toronto streetcars -- along with transit vehicles in Vancouver and Edmonton that have been ordered from Bombardier, the world's largest maker of railway transit vehicles -- are delivered installed with some level of protection, ranging from gel coatings that protect panels to plastic films that limit damage to windows.

Transit authorities around the world are increasingly requiring manufacturers to provide designs that tackle the prospect of their vehicles being vandalized, Marc-Andre Lefebvre, spokesman for Bombardier, said in a recent interview.

"It's common all over the world .... Almost all our customers do require a certain level of protection or resistance," he said.

Bombardier says the best exterior protection involves using stainless steel on vehicles like the new Toronto subway cars known as the Toronto Rocket and Montreal suburban AMT trains.

Interior protection depends on how much the customer is willing to spend given their previous experiences with vandalism. But so-called scratchitti, in which vandals uses knives or other tools to carve into windows and panels, is an evolving concern, Lefebvre said.

Bombardier isn't alone. Other large manufacturers also use materials from suppliers including 3M and Dupont to meet customer demand, Lefebvre said.

Montreal's transit authority and the Toronto Transit Commission have also sought help to protect existing vehicles.

Plas-Tech based in Concord, Ont., won a $591,000 contract from Montreal to supply 3M anti-graffiti film. The four-ply ultra-thin material affixed to windows and clear dividers near exits can be peeled off when damaged, and replaced by transit staff.

"It just increases the life of that window that much longer," said Mike Aube, the company's sales manager.

Some studies have suggested graffiti vandalism costs taxpayers around the world billions of dollars a year to clean up.

New York City says it spent about $1 million in 2014 to clean North America's largest subway system, some 25 years after it aimed to become graffiti-free. At the height of the problem, subway cars were so tagged that it was nearly impossible to see out the windows as ridership plunged and crime soared, it said.

Montreal says graffiti removal costs are part of the transit system's overall $20 million per year station maintenance budget.

Like most transit systems, Canada's second-largest says it tries to discourage vandalism by removing graffiti in less than a day. Hate-fuelled tags are also reported to police.

Calgary recently dealt with racist graffiti on property and cars at a LRT station that disparaged and threatened Syrian refugees and Muslims. That was five years after Calgarians listed graffiti vandalism in a police survey as one of the Top 10 safety/crime issues in the city.

Toronto stepped up its efforts to tackle vandalism after its general manager arrived in 1995 after running New York's transit system.

But major incidents in Toronto have been on the rise for most of the decade, peaking at 67 in 2014 from 13 in 2008. They were down slightly to 54 in 2015.

Vancouver's TransLink said it boosted overnight security patrols around train storage depots and quickly removes graffiti from vehicles. It also apples a coating to protect paint on train exteriors and a protective anti-scratch coating on the inside of windows.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Climate change scientists fight for funding to save High Arctic lab

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Some of Canada's leading climate change scientists are fighting to keep the country's northernmost research station in operation. The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka, Nunavut, tracks atmospheric data that no other research station can, given its High Arctic latitude, only 1,110 kilometres from the North Pole. Source
  • Right whale skeleton, DNA headed to Canada's largest museum

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Scientists at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto are hoping that some good can come from three dead North Atlantic right whales, towed to a beach on P.E.I. this summer. Final report on right whale deaths still weeks away, say AVC pathologistsRight whale necropsy underway on P.E.I. Source
  • Asteroid mining could support space economies, colonies

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A team of researchers are planning to send robotic spacecraft into outer space, land near asteroids hurtling through the abyss and mine them for water, metals and other elements that will make colonizing space that much easier. Source
  • Algae on river flowing into Lake Erie prompts warning

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TOLEDO, Ohio -- Health officials in Ohio are telling children, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions not to swim in the river that flows through Toledo because of an algae outbreak. The Maumee River along the city's downtown waterfront has turned unsightly shades of green the past few days, leading local health officials to issue a recreational advisory Thursday. Source
  • #BugsR4Girls: How 8-year-old Sophia Spencer co-authored a scientific paper on bugs

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Sophia Spencer hated it when classmates taunted her for her love of insects, but seeing them kill her pet grasshoppers for fun was even worse. Her first-grade peers couldn't understand what she found so fascinating about bugs of all sorts or why she'd devoted spare time to catching them, reading about them and generally carrying on like a budding entomologist. Source
  • Tech firms and lawmakers celebrate new trans-Atlantic cable

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Lawmakers and tech industry leaders have announced the completion of a new high-speed data cable that stretches across the Atlantic Ocean. Representatives from Facebook and Microsoft joined with Virginia's governor and two senators in Williamsburg to celebrate the cable's completion on Friday morning. Source
  • Ont. girl who was teased for love of bugs gets name in science journal

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Sophia Spencer hated it when classmates taunted her for her love of insects, but seeing them kill her pet grasshoppers for fun was even worse. Her first-grade peers couldn't understand what she found so fascinating about bugs of all sorts or why she'd devote spare time to catching them, reading about them, and generally carrying on like a budding entomologist. Source
  • Help from above: Canadian satellite assists with hurricane recovery, other natural disasters

    Tech & Science CBC News
    When Hurricane Irma cut a path of destruction through the Caribbean this month, authorities on the ground found themselves in the dark, scrambling for information. High above the storm, satellites from several nations, including Canada, were called into action to track the hurricane's progress, measure the damage and provide vital information to plan rescue and recovery efforts. Source
  • Indonesia raises Bali volcano alert to highest level

    Tech & Science CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level for the Mount Agung volcano on the tourist island of Bali to the highest level, and more than 11,000 villagers have left their homes around the mountain, officials said Friday. Source
  • Plenty of rain and thriving plants made it a 'crazy great summer' for monarchs and other insects

    Tech & Science CBC News
    One of Canada's most cherished species seems to be making a comeback in Toronto gardens — at least for a few more days. Monarch butterfly watchers in Canada and in the United States say it's been a good year for the iconic orange-and-black pollinators, who leave for winter habitats in Mexico from Canada and the U.S. Source