Technical Reports

Evaluation of Alternative Detection Technologies for Trains and Highway Vehicles at Highway Rail Intersections

  • 01
  • Feb
  • 2003
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration; Richard P. Reiff; Scott E. Gage; Anya A. Carroll; Jeffrey E. Gordon
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-03/04
SUBJECT: Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
KEYWORDS: Grade crossing warning, Highway rail grade crossings, Highway rail intersection, Train detection, Highway vehicle detection, Loss of shunt, Intelligent traffic systems
ABSTRACT: Five technologies were evaluated for their ability to detect trains and/or highway vehicles approaching and occupying highway railroad intersections. Tests were conducted on the performance of these technologies during October and November 1999 at the Federal Railroad Administration's Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado. The categories of evaluation include train approach detection, train island detection, static highway vehicle detection and dynamic highway vehicle detection. Intelligent Transportation System information was also collected to evaluate the technologies' ability to determine train direction, train speed and train length. Results suggest that although promising performance was observed, most of the prototype systems using these alternative detection technologies did not always interpret train and highway vehicle presence within prescribed limits. In some instances, these problems were due to the placement of sensors. In revenue service applications, alternate locations for certain sensors may improve performance. Features of some of the prototype detection systems tested were encouraging and future evaluations are planned.

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