ITTC Project

Development of a Micropower Impulse Radar Based System for Detecting Vehicles at Railroad Crossings

Project Award Date: 08-13-2000


More than 50 percent of the train-car collisions at railroad crossings occur at public crossings where warning devices such as gates, lights, and bells are present and functioning properly. In many cases, crashes occur when drivers ignore the warning devices. In an attempt to stop motorists from driving around crossing gates, the railroad industry is studying the possibility of using gates that span all lanes of traffic on both sides of the tracks. This arrangement, known as four-quadrant gates, blocks cars from entering the crossing. However, four-quadrant gates also prevent vehicles from easily exiting a crossing when the gates come down. This project is aimed at studying the effects of using ultra-wideband impulse radar to detect vehicles in crossings and raise the gates.

LaBarge, Inc., and the Illinois Commerce Commission sponsor the development of this radar. The purpose of this project is to provide a platform where various four-quadrant gate operational strategies can be simulated to verify their operational ramifications. Remote Sensing Labs (RSL) is assisting in the implementation of a technology called MicroPower Impulse Radar (MIR) to fulfill this development effort in detecting vehicles within the railroad-crossing island.

The development effort is divided into six phases during which the technology will be designed, built, and tested before it is installed at the final pilot site of Maywood, Illinois. RSL will design an ultra-wideband radar system, build a working prototype, and test the hardware and software on a local site resembling the final pilot site.


Faculty Investigator(s): Steve Lohmeier (PI)

Student Investigator(s): Ravi Rajaraman

Project Sponsors

Primary Sponsor(s): LeBarge, Inc.

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