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.


Latest Tech & Science News

  • World's largest marine reserve created in Antarctic sea

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The countries that decide the fate of Antarctica's waters reached an historic agreement on Friday to create the world's largest marine protected area in the ocean next to the frozen continent. The agreement comes after years of diplomatic wrangling and high-level talks between the U.S. Source
  • Images show Prince Harry working to help elephants in Malawi

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Photos Source
  • China goes from red-alert pollution to green energy

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The city of Foshan is in the middle of China's manufacturing heartland. It may be big and noisy, factories gushing consumer products and pollution, but its new city bus glides along almost silently, producing no pollution at all. Source
  • Fish and politics fuel Antarctic marine reserve deal

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Nations from around the world on Friday reached an historic agreement to preserve an area of ocean near Antarctica that's about twice the size of Texas. Here are some questions and answers about the deal: Source
  • Police access and use of 7,500 mobile phone numbers raises privacy fears

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Privacy and legal experts across Canada say serious privacy questions need to be asked about an "extraordinary" and "unprecedented" move by Ontario Provincial Police to send text messages to about 7,500 people for information about an unsolved homicide. Source
  • #RIPVine, long live stardom: Canadians who cashed in on Vine

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The timer has finally run out on Vine. When Twitter launched the micro-video feature back in 2013, it quickly became a viral enigma, challenging users to cram as much comedy, or culture, into each 480×480 pixel frame. Source
  • Fossilized dinosaur brain discovered on English beach

    Tech & Science CTV News
    What at first sight looked like just another brown pebble on an English beach turned out to be the first known example of fossilized brain tissue from a dinosaur. The brain tissue likely belonged to a species related to Iguanodon, a large herbivore that roamed the Earth approximately 133 million years ago, the Geological Society of London said in a blog post Thursday. Source
  • Apple's MacBook Pro gets a touch-sensitive panel [Photos]

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple unveiled long-awaited updates to its Mac computers Thursday, aiming to spark consumer interest in a product line often overshadowed by newer gadgets, such as the iPad and iPhone. The breakout feature is, as widely speculated, a new touch-sensitive panel on the MacBook Pro, Apple’s top-of-the-line laptop. Source
  • Tougher than steel, lighter than cotton: spider webs are a scientific marvel

    Tech & Science CBC News
    In amongst the jack-o'-lanterns, ghosts and goblins, spider webs always make a strong showing at this time of year. But spider webs are much more than just a spooky way to spice up your Halloween decorations. Source
  • Apple refreshes MacBook Pro with touch-sensitive strip

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Apple is announcing long-awaited updates to its Mac computers, aiming to spark consumer interest in a product line that often seems overshadowed by newer gadgets like the iPad and iPhone. Source