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Railway Crossing Obstruction Detector

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004504D
Publication Date: 2000-Dec-15
Document File: 4 page(s) / 43K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Railway crossings are a source of thousands of auto accidents each year. Prevention of auto-railway accidents could save millions in and hundreds of lives. Current accident prevention techniques are: the use of crossing barriers and flashers and crossing video cameras at frequently used train crossings. An inexpensive crossing monitor system could greatly reduce preventable accidents. How to monitor the railway-road intersection for obstacles? Video cameras currently offer the only option for monitoring the crossings. They are expensive and therefore can only be used at a limited number of crossings. What is needed is a way to monitor railroad-road intersections for obstacles. The present invention is a method and apparatus incorporating existing inductor coil vehicle detection technology for the monitoring of railroad crossings for vehicles obstructing the crossing. An inductive loop is simply a coil of wire embedded in the road's surface. To install the loop one lays the asphalt and then comes back and cuts a groove in the asphalt with a saw. The wire is laid in the groove and sealed with a rubbery compound. Inductive loops work by detecting a change of inductance. Therefore, when a large metal object, like a vehicle, passes over the coil a change in inductance is detected.

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Railway Crossing Obstruction Detector

Railway crossings are a source of thousands of auto accidents each year. Prevention of auto-railway accidents could save millions in and hundreds of lives. Current accident prevention techniques are: the use of crossing barriers and flashers and crossing video cameras at frequently used train crossings. An inexpensive crossing monitor system could greatly reduce preventable accidents.

How to monitor the railway-road intersection for obstacles?

Video cameras currently offer the only option for monitoring the crossings. They are expensive and therefore can only be used at a limited number of crossings. What is needed is a way to monitor railroad-road intersections for obstacles.

The present invention is a method and apparatus incorporating existing inductor coil vehicle detection technology for the monitoring of railroad crossings for vehicles obstructing the crossing. An inductive loop is simply a coil of wire embedded in the road's surface. To install the loop one lays the asphalt and then comes back and cuts a groove in the asphalt with a saw. The wire is laid in the groove and sealed with a rubbery compound. Inductive loops work by detecting a change of inductance. Therefore, when a large metal object, like a vehicle, passes over the coil a change in inductance is detected.

Figure 1a Side-view of Railway Crossing Obstruction Detector

Figure 1b Top-view of Railway Crossing Obstruction Detector

Figure 1a and Figure 1b illustrate an inductor coil 110 embedded in a road 120. As a car 130 enters the railroad tracks 140, it passes over inductor coil 110, thus causing a change in the inductance. This inductance change is detected by electronics 150, which are electrically connected to a computer 160 located at the crossing. Computer 160 in turn signals a central command center via a telephone line 170 to warn oncoming trains.