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Florida DOT teams with Nestor, GeoFocus to improve grade crossing safety

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) June 4 extended a contract with Nestor Traffic Systems Inc. to install and demonstrate an advanced-warning system at two Tri-Rail Commuter Rail Authority crossings in South Florida.

Nestor combined its Rail CrossingGuard® video-based crossing monitoring technology with GeoFocus Inc.’s TrainTrac® communications-based train location and information system to form the Advanced Warning Alerts for Railroad Engineers (AWARE) system, which is designed to provide grade crossing status information and alerts to approaching locomotives.

Nestor plans to equip affected crossings with its video-monitoring system for automated detection of vehicles, trains and traffic control devices, an AWARE controller, and spread spectrum radio communications. Equipped locomotives would have Mobile Information Terminals to display crossing status messages and alerts, a global positioning satellite-based train location device, and a two-way spread spectrum wireless radio, enabling the train and trackside computer to communicate.

In the combined system, Rail CrossingGuard is designed to detect vehicles on the tracks and trigger an alert from the crossing to the AWARE-equipped train.

"A system with the ability to warn an on-coming train of trouble ahead is a technological breakthrough in grade crossing safety," said Michael Dowell, FDOT’s rail corridor programs engineer, in a prepared statement. "These AWARE installation could prove to be the pivotal solution in averting potentially life-threatening crashes."

FDOT’s existing contract requires Nestor to provide video monitoring equipment and services at five South Florida Rail Corridor crossings; the extension is part of the first phase of FDOT’s statewide plan to demonstrate new technologies to improve grade crossing safety.

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More News from 6/5/2001