December 3, 2007
IPS State-of-the-Art Rail Crossing Barricades Being Tested in Wayne County
Denton Road in Wayne County's Van Buren Township is the first location in the United States to be equipped with unique retractable barricades that serve as warning devices at a railroad crossing. The barricades, or "bollards," will rise from the pavement and discourage drivers from driving around lowered crossing gate arms when a train is approaching.
The bollards are part of a federal railroad crossing safety test sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration. Starting in December, the Denton Road system, located on NS tracks, will be activated and monitored by cameras during a 17-month test period that lasts until spring 2009.
"Transportation officials throughout the nation will be watching as we evaluate this new technology aimed at protecting people and saving lives," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "We believe the barriers have great life-saving potential for those motorists who make a quick, poor decision, and attempt to drive around lowered gates. This may be the solution to discourage 'gate running.'"
Intelligent Perimeter Systems (IPS), a developer of traffic control systems, recently completed installation of the barrier system. The retractable bollards are housed in self-contained, modular cartridges recessed in the ground. They are electronically deployed at the crossing when a train is approaching to discourage vehicles from driving around the crossing gates.
"Considering that accidents at railroad crossings occur approximately every three hours in the U.S., it is critical these grade crossings have the best safety measures in place to prevent tragedies from occurring," said IPS President Mike Korodi. "With the recent installation of the Denton Road safety project, drivers and pedestrians in this area will be better protected with the assistance of these state-of-the-art safety barriers."
The bollards reach their full deployment in about six seconds, are activated by a signal from the crossing gate system, and rise up just following the lowering of the gate arms. They are implanted in the road in an L-shaped pattern on both sides of the east/westbound tracks and along the centerline. All bollards are reflective, and in addition, the ones along the track line are lit for better visibility. The system’s fully redundant design with no single point of failure ensures the system works even if one delineator fails.
maintains Denton Road and volunteered the intersection for the project.
In 2006, there were 72 train/vehicle crashes in Michigan, including 11 fatal crashes and 19 injuries. Of the 72 crashes, 27 were at gated crossings.
For more information on the Michigan Department of Transportation, visit www.michigan.gov/mdot.
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