Performance evaluation of the pilot study of advisory on-board vehicle warning systems at railroad grade crossings

Murat F. Aycin, R. F. Benekohal

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


The Pilot Study of Advisory On-Board Vehicle Warning Systems at Railroad Grade Crossings was conducted to provide roadway vehicles approaching the specially equipped grade crossings with an on-board/advisory warning of a train approaching or occupying the grade crossing. The system design was composed of a trackside transmitter assembly (TTA) and in-vehicle receiver (IVR). The TTA sent a K-band signal to the IVRs when a train was approaching or occupying the crossings. The existing Metra grade crossing controller activated the trackside system. The system was installed at five railroad grade crossings in the northern Chicago suburbs. Approximately 300 IVR units were installed in the vehicles of 38 participating organizations. This report documents issues with the operation of the overall system and corrective measures that were taken. The performance history of the pilot study is presented in a chronological order. Overall, the system performance did not meet study expectations even though replacing the original IVRs were helpful to some degree. The off-the-shelf technology used in this pilot study did not provide adequate reliability for the study environment. The concept of an on-board warning system has potential to work if a more reliable technology is used to activate the warning system. There were other challenges such as the complexities of multi-agency coordination that required time, effort, and approval from various agencies. Also, with 38 participating organizations, the pilot study encountered a number of challenges in coordinating the installation of IVRs and driver training along with retraining several hundred participant drivers when the IVRs were replaced.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationUrbana, Ill
PublisherUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
StatePublished - 2002

Publication series

NameTraffic Operations Lab Series

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