Improving Safety at Rural Railroad Crossings

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2005-33610-15478
Agency Tracking Number: 2005-00351
Amount: $80,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 873, Guernsey, WY, 82214
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Steven Turner
 (307) 836-3108
Business Contact
 Steven Turner
Title: President
Phone: (307) 836-3108
Research Institution
On average, nine collisions occur each day in the U.S. between trains and road vehicles. These collisions result in fatalities forty times more often than for other vehicle accidents. Eighty percent of collisions occur at railroad crossings that do not have train-activated warning systems. Using conventional equipment to upgrade these 80,000 public crossings will cost over $10 billion, and take more than eighty years at the present rate. In addition, there are 95,000 private railroad crossings that lack train-activated warnings. This research will develop a low-cost, train-activated warning system incorporating: a novel, proprietary train sensor; alternative warning technologies; common, lower-cost traffic signal components; secure wireless networking between the sensor and signal lights to reduce installation costs; and solar power (with substantial battery reserves) to service off-grid locations. A major objective is optimizing visual and audible cues to provide a safety benefit competitive with crossing gates while avoiding the cost and power requirements of gates. Additional warning cues to be studied include in-pavement lights, variable message signs, active advance warning signs prior to the crossing, and electronically synthesized bells and train horns. The proposed system would greatly accelerate the rate of elimination of dangerous crossings that are predominantly in rural areas.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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