Research Papers

Railway Crossing Information System - A Network Approach to Managing Road and Rail Interface

Version 1
Date added July 10, 2018
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Category 2018 CARSP XXVIII Victoria
Tags Policy and Practice, Session 5B
Author/Auteur Tan, Jamal, Bond
Stream/Volet Policy and Practice

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)

5B - Bond

Abstract

The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC), from Delta to the BC Interior, forms a critical east-west link for the movement of goods by rail to/from ports, terminals and other facilities on the west coast and eastern destinations. When trains transit through the Langley area of the corridor, the at-grade intersections may be closed for several minutes at a time resulting in significant traffic delays for motorists in the area, including residual traffic congestion that can take many minutes to clear once the train has passed. Recognizing the need to address this growing issue as trade-related rail volume increases, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (TRAN) is implementing the Railway Crossing Information System (RCIS) at key road/rail crossings in funding partnership with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Translink and Transport Canada.

1. Mitigate local community impacts of increased trade-related rail volumes.
2. Provide drivers with timely rail crossing information so they can make informed travel decisions.
3. Reduce congestion and travel delays for drivers crossing the RBRC and/or other critical rail corridors, optimizing efficiency of the local area road network.
4. Utilize Intelligent Transportation Systems technology for development of a train information database to inform fact-based decision making.

Local community/commuters who are familiar with the area and will know what detour routes to take to get onto adjacent road/rail overpasses. This will also be of benefit to local emergency services who will now be advised of upcoming rail crossing closures and can take detour routes using road/rail overpasses and avoid delays when responding to critical events. RCIS is a technological complement to a number of road/rail overpasses constructed in Langley under the RBRC program which was completed in 2014. RCIS will be implemented at key at-grade road/rail crossings and communicate via electronic Motorist Advisory Signs (MAS) when and where train crossing blockages occur, enabling drivers to take adjacent detour routes provided by the RBRC overpasses. This requires installation of six MAS, train detectors and establishment of an integrated central control system.

The RCIS will:
* Detect, predict, and track the location of trains as they move through the RBRC in Langley;
* Predict time and duration of intersection blockages based on train characteristics;
* Activate motorist advisory signals to provide advance notice to drivers who are approaching the at-grade rail crossings;
* Confirm that the train is occupying the at-grade road crossings via activation of the associated traffic signal controller rail pre-emption unction; and
* Confirm when the train has cleared the at-grade crossings and have the capability to keep the motorist advisory signs active to warn drivers of residual traffic congestion. The database of train data generated will be useful to the ministry, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and Translink to better understand the nature of train volumes on this corridor (frequency and train transit duration); particularly when planning future infrastructure improvements to accommodate increased trade activity via rail.

RCIS does not currently exist in BC or Canada, this initial implementation and performance operation of the overall system will be assessed once the project is complete to inform the feasibility of future phases.