In what use cases can Radius help to improve railway safety? Article 3: Level crossings

September 4, 2023

In order to clarify in which specific cases Radius can be useful to improve the safety of railway maintenance, this article focuses on level crossings.

A level crossing is an intersection at the same level between a railway track and a road or path. It is the mechanism used to regulate traffic when a road crosses a track or vice versa. Every year, accidents occur at level crossings, either due to carelessness or accidents. To try to avoid them, Radius proposes to carry out detailed monitoring to detect potential failures as early as possible.

Level crossings have a wide variety of components to regulate traffic, such as road traffic signals, barriers, technical shelter and pavements. It is important that all of them work optimally to avoid collisions between trains and vehicles.

The use of drones for inspecting the level crossing may be carried out by using RGB camera and operators could inspect the asset using the real-time video feed provided by the drone. Visual image recognition can be used as double-edged weapon, providing both a valid tool for diagnostic and maintenance (i.e., monitoring the movements behaviour and time of the barrier, detecting obstacle, etc.), enhancing the availability and the safety of the railway infrastructure.

What kind of information can we obtain?

  • The degradation of the barriers: it is noticeably visible, either by changes in integrity, due to vandalism, road accidents or weather, broken or bended,

  • The position of the barriers: a drone can determine if they are situated correctly, in vertical or horizontal position

  • The time barriers move: drones can check if they are moving up and down to regulate traffic at the correct time and reduce the risk of collision when a train is approaching.

Apart from level crossings; there are other use cases that benefit from Radius Project, such as: switches, cabinets and digital model of the railway environment.