Challenges of managing level crossing safety after PTC
To provide more consistent, predictable and reliable service for Rail Customers, North American Railroad operators are moving toward a Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) service model. The push to improve the efficiency and safety of the entire railroad operation has never been greater.
In the past, the traditional train operating model focused on moving long trains to maximize capacity and yield the greatest efficiency. However, since railroads focused on building long trains that would move faster, if a train didn’t meet a specific length requirement, it could be canceled, leaving customers without service for the day.
The variable train length is creating new challenges for the existing railroad crossing activation design as the activation is typically based on the train approaching the detection circuit at a fixed location. Inefficiency is created whenever a shorter train approaches a crossing.
This problem is further amplified when passenger rail operators are increasingly sharing tracks with freight rail operators as the weight and length of the train between the two operators are vastly different. As a result, train arrival and departure time at the crossing are also vastly different, making the crossing activation very inefficient.
The good news is that a standardization effort is under way in the ITC Committees to enhance the existing PTC system with PTC Activated Crossings function. 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 citizens blocked at the gates. However, vehicles and pedestrians stuck in level crossings remain invisible to standard PTC.
The solution: reliable object detection, object classification and timely alerts
LILEE SafeRail increases both safety and efficiency of grade crossings for railway operators. The multi-sensor, AI-based object detection and classification system can operate stand-alone or in combination with other safety or PTC solutions. Other benefits and capabilities include:
- SafeRail is an AAR S-9202 compliant system with embedded Wayside Message Server (WMS) capabilities and highly reliable and redundant 5G communications
- SafeRail improve safety and reliability and cost-efficiency with real-time knowledge and visibility of crossing health status from the back-office management console
- SafeRail’s innovative sensor fusion technology that combines LiDAR and Radar imaging divides the crossing into monitored sections. It enables rail operators to reliably detect if people or vehicles that are entering a grade crossing could potentially cause a safety issue and if so, immediately informs the locomotive operator and the back office to take an corrective action following appropriate safety protocols
SafeRail technology is equally applicable for Maintenance-of-Way (MOW) Vehicles
SafeRail for MOW vehicles implements a true Limits Compliance and Collision Avoidance System (LCCAS) reducing the potential for human injury, equipment damage and operational disruptions. See our website for more details: https://www.lileesystems.com/rail-safety/