Vehicle-Based Low Clearance Detector

The objective of this project was to demonstrate commercially available vehicle-based technologies for 1) detecting a low-clearance overpass in the path of a commercial vehicle, and 2) warning the commercial driver about the low clearance prior to striking the low-clearance overpass. Fatalities have occurred with motorcoaches striking bridges. Bridge strikes by trucks ranged from 5,971–6,171 across the Nation between 2005 and 2008. In a press conference on September 24, 2012, New York Senator Schumer raised the issue, and in a public letter asked former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to address the problem. The technology considered in this study is vehicle-based as opposed to infrastructure-based. For example, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is looking at reducing bridge strikes using technologies that are installed on the infrastructure. Infrastructure-based technologies are not a complete solution to the problem of avoiding bridge strikes because they are expensive and there is no requirement for the local or State governments that own the bridges to install the technologies. Global positioning systems for trucks are also not a complete solution because there are many low-clearance overpasses that are not documented, and thus not in a navigation database for trucks. There is also no requirement for a local or State government to document all low-clearance overpasses. The final outcome was a final report.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Milestones: May 2015: Project management plan; November 2015: Literature review; February 2015: Preliminary field operations test to down-select technologies for final field operations test; April 2016: Execution of final field operations test at Transportation Research Center; September 2016: Final report due.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Kwan, Quon

  • Performing Organizations:

    Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

    Transportation Planning Division
    55 Broadway
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142-1093
  • Start Date: 20150500
  • Expected Completion Date: 20161012
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160900

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01592640
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Files: RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 4 2016 8:16AM