Collision Prevention: drones, alerts, gates

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby MCL1981 » Thu May 17, 2018 5:09 am

That would not prevent a single thing. That accident happened because the driver was inattentive to the obvious. A sign wouldn't change that which is already obvious and being neglected.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby John_Perkowski » Thu May 17, 2018 8:33 am

ADMIN NOTE

Topic moved to General Discussion, Passenger Rail. This applies to all.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby John_Perkowski » Thu May 17, 2018 8:38 am

My thoughts on grade crossing barriers:

First, this is a topic which applies to all railroading, freight and passenger.

Second, it's time and past time we start looking at radically reducing grade crossings. Yes, I know it's expensive as all heck, but it will radically reduce car/truck vs train collisions (and we all know who "wins" in those).

Third, where grade crossing reduction cannot happen, we need, as the Europeans do, full street barriers. They're available now, thanks to 9-11. The ones I see at US DOD and DOJ sites can truly stop anything short of an Abrams tank. In addition, I like the gatepost that was photographed upthread.

Just my thoughts.

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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby MCL1981 » Thu May 17, 2018 9:33 am

Phalanx type vehicle security barriers would not be appropriate for grade crossings. They would trap vehicles on the tracks. Nobody is trying to crash a truck loaded with fertilizer through a grade crossing. Those would be incredibly inappropriate and wasteful. In fact any immovable barrier would be inappropriate.

Full width crossing gates and lane deliniators are appropriate. The make it so you can't "drive around" the gates. And they make it much more conspicuous and difficult to accidentally not see.

There is nothing within reason that can be done to physically prevent someone from crashing through the gates. That kind of barrier also "traps" a vehicle on the tracks between the gates. If someone is so stupid that they choose to drive their vehicle through the closed gates, damaging their vehicle and damaging the gates, then I have no sympathy for their imminent demise either. That collision is going to happen, and you can't fix stupid.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby mtuandrew » Thu May 17, 2018 10:55 am

I agree with all of Col. Perkowski’s comments, with MCL’s caveat about the necessary strength of barrier. Perhaps tire spike strips would be useful, or this thing from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spike_strip:
Following the rise in terrorist vehicle attacks whereby a vehicle is driven at speed into pedestrians, a net with steel spikes that can be deployed by two people in less than a minute, reported able to stop a vehicle of up to 17 tonnes, was developed for preventive use at public events in the UK, with the name "Talon". It has steel spikes to puncture tyres, and becomes entangled around the front wheels, halting the vehicle. It is designed to reduce risk to crowds by making the vehicle skid in a straight line without veering unpredictably. It was first deployed to protect a parade on 11 September 2017.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby Arborwayfan » Thu May 17, 2018 11:08 am

While changing from trolley to bus at Lilleaker station in Oslo this afternoon, I watched the four-quadrant gates go down a couple of times. At that crossing, the ones on the right side (ie the ones in front of cars on the proper side of the road) go all the way down before the other two start. I assume that is to avoid trapping anyone who is on the tracks when they start to go down. Is that standard practice on the few 4-quadrant-gate installations in the US, too? (Edited for clarity.)
Last edited by Arborwayfan on Fri May 18, 2018 1:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby bostontrainguy » Thu May 17, 2018 12:30 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:I like it, ExCon. If rental trucks can have their height on the dashboard, school buses, other buses, and non-trailer-trucks can have their length there. Cheap and easy.


Sorry, but this is crazy. I used to own a school bus company and any responsible driver would not attempt this move no matter how long their bus was. You are only talking about maybe a car length between a small and full size school bus. Are you really going to try to squeeze a bus load of kids into a space that tight?

Although I think a driver should not be that oblivious to their equipment size the following info is on wikipedia:

Informational decals were also added to Illinois school buses advising drivers of the length of each bus, since the substitute school bus driver was apparently unaware of the exact length of the bus she was driving.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby ExCon90 » Thu May 17, 2018 2:45 pm

MCL1981 wrote:That would not prevent a single thing. That accident happened because the driver was inattentive to the obvious. A sign wouldn't change that which is already obvious and being neglected.

It wasn't obvious to the driver that she was driving a bus that was longer than her usual one. Maybe it was obvious when she got on, but it seems she forgot. A notice on the dashboard might have kept it in her consciousness. According to bostontrainguy's post above, apparently the Illinois authorities thought it was worth doing.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby ExCon90 » Thu May 17, 2018 2:57 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:Are you really going to try to squeeze a bus load of kids into a space that tight?

Someone did.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby bostontrainguy » Thu May 17, 2018 3:27 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:While changing from trolley to bus at Lilleaker station in Oslo this afternoon, I watched the four-quadrant gates go down a couple of times. At that crossing, the ones on the right side (ie the ones in front of cars on the proper side of the road) go all the way down before the other two start. I assume that is to avoid trapping anyone who is on the tracks when they start to go down. Is that standard practice in the US, too?


Yes.

I would also think it would be easy enough to have detection loops embedded in the roadway to prevent that second gate from trapping someone.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby D Alex » Thu May 17, 2018 5:53 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:While changing from trolley to bus at Lilleaker station in Oslo this afternoon, I watched the four-quadrant gates go down a couple of times. At that crossing, the ones on the right side (ie the ones in front of cars on the proper side of the road) go all the way down before the other two start. I assume that is to avoid trapping anyone who is on the tracks when they start to go down. Is that standard practice in the US, too?


No, it's not. In almost every location, our crossing barriers are only across the driving side, and the other side is not covered by the barrier. This is how people 'go around' the barriers. I've never seen a typical European crossing barrier in the US. Your barriers also often have an upper and lower element; ours only have a single fiberglass arm.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby Arborwayfan » Fri May 18, 2018 1:55 am

D Alex,

Sorry, I could have been more clear. I was asking whether US 4-quadrant gates were also timed that way. Bostontrainguy answered my question. I asked because I have never seen a US 4-quadrant gate that I remember. I have seen the whistle-ban-approved arrangements with the high median strip for a while before the tracks, for example between Salt Lake City and Ogden, but that's it. Mostly I've just seen the typical two-gate American grade crossings, plus just lights and just crossbucks.

I can't tell you about typical European gates because I am only a temporary resident here in Oslo. I grew up in Boston and live in Terre Haute. The particular barriers I was looking at were similar to American ones -- just one of gate a couple feet off the ground. I say one level because instead of the single board typical of the US the gates were made of a couple of tubes maybe six inches apart, connected with a kind of lattice of other tubes, but the effect was the same as a board: a barrier a few inches wide at about car hood height. It was not one of those tall gates I have seen pictures of other places. Elsewhere in Olso I have seen gates just like American ones--on a subway line with grade crossings. I can't remember what kind of gates there are on the intercity rail network, where I haven't seen many grade crossings.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby CLamb » Fri May 18, 2018 11:50 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:I would also think it would be easy enough to have detection loops embedded in the roadway to prevent that second gate from trapping someone.


It would be even easier to have them spring loaded so that they pivot away when pushed from the track side.
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Re: Advance Safety Drones

Postby bostontrainguy » Sat May 19, 2018 11:18 am

CLamb wrote:
bostontrainguy wrote:I would also think it would be easy enough to have detection loops embedded in the roadway to prevent that second gate from trapping someone.


It would be even easier to have them spring loaded so that they pivot away when pushed from the track side.


You got to think that when people are in a stressful situation, like a train barreling right at them, they will panic or freeze. I would guess that a unknowing driver may not realize they can easily just drive through a gate. Seems logical but fear and terror will alter sensibilities.

I think the sensing loops would be all that is needed but maybe even an audio recording shouting "PULL FORWARD" could be used if the system detects a car on the tracks in an emergency situation.
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Re: Collision Prevention: drones, alerts, gates

Postby mtuandrew » Sat May 19, 2018 11:26 am

Moderator's Note: Topic name changed, since this has crept into all aspects of rail collision safety.
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