Apparatus for Gap Management

Rutgers University will perform further development of a prototype device that dynamically bridges the gap between the door sill of a commuter rail train and the edge of a loading platform. The device is intended to provide three functions: 1) safe and easy access for mobility-impaired travelers, 2) protection against slip and fall injuries for all passengers and 3) automated data logging of actual gap widths in order to alert maintenance personnel of track movement or other changes in accordance with the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA's) approach to managing gap safety. This innovation applies to commuter rail trains that use a modified trap door apparatus for gap management, to provide access to both ground level pedestrian movement and high level platforms. It is a modification of existing trap doors that includes a movable plate that is automatically extended and retracted by a linear actuator arrangement from within the trap door. The unit incorporates a motor drive that is compatible with rail car power supply, contact sensors for safe operation, and a magnetic pulse sensor mounted on the linear actuator for measuring the length of the extension before contact with the platform, thus measuring the gap width. This method of dynamically bridging the gap will be designed to reduce the current operational cost and delays due to the manual use of portable plates that are commonly used to address Americans with Disabilities (ADA) requirements at stations. It will improve the safety of passengers by minimizing slip and fall accidents. It will assist transit agency personnel in implementing the FRA Office of Safety recommendations for managing gap safety by providing regular readings of the actual gap width at each station over time. New Jersey Transit will collaborate with the Rutgers University research team on this project.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-04, IDEA 7

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Williams, Jon

  • Performing Organizations:

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

    57 US Highway 1
    New Brunswick, NJ  United States  08901-8554
  • Principal Investigators:

    Boucher, Thomas

  • Start Date: 20141210
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 38299

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01547535
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-04, IDEA 7
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 11 2014 1:01AM