Development of a Low Power, Low Cost Rural Railway Intersection Smart Detection and Warning System

In the U.S. there are 830 railroads comprised of more than 130,000 miles of track with more than 200,000 railroad crossings. Approximately 46% of these crossing points are passive, meaning they don’t have any active warning/control system or gates. Every year within the last decade, more than 400 rail-related fatalities occur, in which grade crossing accidents make up the majority. The lack of unsignalized intersections, active signage, and sustainable power at rural railway intersections (to warn vehicles to slow down before a train approaches) is the major cause of these crashes. The goal of this project is to develop and implement a novel low cost, low power rural railway intersection detection and warning system for monitoring railway traffic and increase motorist safety by activating warning signs to alert of danger ahead (i.e., when the train is approaching the intersection). The type of sensor that is proposed in the detection module is a multiple pixel passive infrared sensor due to the low cost, low power consumption, large field of view and ability to collect a wide range of data. The warning module will be responsible for alerting motorist that a train is approaching the intersection when a signal is received from the detection module. The warning module will be attached on the railroad crossing sign infrastructure. Both the detection and warning module will be powered by solar energy since the system will not have access to the power grid. The detection module will be designed to be an off-railway detection system that could be quickly and easily installed on pre-existing infrastructure with little to no specialized training.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $66010
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Melson, Christopher

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Texas at Arlington

    Box 19308
    Arlington, TX  United States  76019-0308
  • Principal Investigators:

    Ahmed, Sara

    Dessouky, Samer

  • Start Date: 20190815
  • Expected Completion Date: 20210215
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01713585
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 7 2019 9:59AM