Skip to content
Technical Reports

State-of-the-Art Technologies for Intrusion and Obstacle Detection for Railroad Operations

  • 01
  • Feb
  • 2007
AUTHOR: Marco P. daSilva and William Baron
KEYWORDS: Obstacle detection, obstacle intrusion systems, intrusion detection, alternative detection
ABSTRACT: This report provides an update on the state-of-the-art technologies with intrusion and obstacle detection capabilities for rail rights of way (ROW) and crossings. A workshop entitled Intruder and Obstacle Detection Systems (IODS) for Railroads Requirements was held in 1998, and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center published the proceedings in 2001. A suite of possible alternative detection technology systems were then field-tested; the results were published in 2003. A host of novel approaches to detection involving existing and emerging technologies have since appeared. This report identifies these new non-track circuitbased approaches and methods of identifying obstacles and intruders on the ROW and at crossings. The results obtained from this analysis provide a technology update for the Federal Railroad Administration, as well as recommend potential technology concepts for future field testing. The application of intrusion and obstacle detection or remote sensing technologies would serve to improve the safety of rail passengers and road users, as well as protect the general population and environment from the risks associated with hazmat shipments, and aid in the relief of congestion by reducing the number of incidents and delays due to those incidents.

Due to our recent website upgrade some of the links in legacy documents might point to the decommissioned site location.  We recommend that users take advantage of the search engine above to locate the material they seek on the current website.  Be assured that we are working diligently to upgrade all legacy documents containing outdated links and to keep our content as current as possible.

Revised Links:


  • Contact us
  • Federal Railroad Administration
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC 20590
  • Regional Offices