Failsafe Grade Crossing Activation in Case of a PTC 2.0 Wireless Grade Crossing Activation System Failure

The railroad industry is moving toward a new standard of PTC 2.0 Wireless Grade Crossing Activation. This new standard allows the OnBoard Computer (OBC) to talk to the Crossing Wayside Interface Unit (xWIU) to agree on train arrival and departure time at the crossing via the communication network, which in turn allows for more efficient control of the crossing gates and roadway vehicles and citizens blocked at the gates. However, when the PTC 2.0 Wireless Grade Crossing Activation system is in a failed mode, a failsafe system is needed to detect oncoming rail traffic and activate the crossing to stop oncoming roadway vehicles and allow train movement.

The solution: LILEE SafeRail™ Wireless Grade Crossing Activation solution increases both safety and efficiency of grade crossings for railway operators. It reliably detects railway vehicles (such as an MOW vehicle or a train) approaching and occupying the grade crossing in case of a PTC 2.0 Wireless Grade Crossing Activation system failure and informs the xWIU appropriately.

AI with sensor fusion technology for reliable detection and classification

SafeRail’s innovative sensor fusion technology combines LiDAR and Camera imaging (“Vision Module”) with LILEE’s AI-based object detection and classification system. It divides the crossing approaches and crossing island into monitored zones. As a result, SafeRail enables rail operators to reliably and precisely detect if railway vehicles are approaching a grade crossing when the PTC 2.0 Activated Wireless Grade Crossing system has failed. This alleviates potentially hazardous safety issues by being a failsafe — activating the crossing when railway vehicles are approaching, and the PTC 2.0 system is down.

Additional benefits and capabilities

In addition to providing a failsafe system for grade crossings, LILEE TransAir® STS-2025, part of SafeRail’s components, is an AAR S-9202 compliant system with embedded Wayside Message Server (WMS) capabilities including reliable and redundant 5G communications.

SafeRail improves safety, reliability, and cost-efficiency (keeping the trains moving) with real-time knowledge of approaching railway vehicles to the crossing.


Here is one example of a dual track scenario with Zones 1-6 as shown below.

The LILEE SafeRail Grade Crossing Activation solution will detect an on-coming railway vehicle (such as an MOW vehicle or a train) from Zone 1 initially and signal the Crossing Controller of an "OCCUPIED" status for Zone 1. This "OCCUPIED" status will be maintained for as long as the SafeRail Grade Crossing Activation solution detects Zone 1 occupied.

SafeRail will detect that this same vehicle moved into Zone 2 (inside the island) and signal the Crossing Controller of Zone 2 being "OCCUPED.” This "OCCUPIED" status shall be maintained for as long as the solution detects Zone 2 occupied.

SafeRail will be aware of the occupancy of Zone 3 for the out-going railway vehicle but will not signal the Crossing Controller of Zone 3 being "OCCUPIED."

In this scenario, SafeRail enables trains to keep moving in case of a PTC 2.0 Grade Crossing Activation system failure.

To schedule a call and discuss implementing LILEE SafeRail to increase safety and efficiency for grade crossings, please contact

John Hawkins from LILEE Systems

About the Author

John Hawkins
John Hawkins is an expert in AI and Sensor Fusion technology for rail safety with experience across a diverse range of rail operators from transit, light rail, short line railroads and all classes of freight railroads. John is an active member in AREMA Technical Committees 27 (Maintenance of Way Work Equipment), 35 (IT), & 39 (PTC) helping the rail industry strive toward Safe Rail operations and more efficient rail solutions of tomorrow. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a math and engineering minor from Bradley University in Peoria, IL.
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