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FRA study examines drone usage for producing grade crossing data

A drone was used to take images of and measure this high-profile grade crossing in Massachusetts.
Photo – FRA report


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a report on its Office of Research, Development and Technology's study of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to produce accurate 3-D models of high-profile grade crossings.

Conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the study found that photogrammetry with ground control points can produce models with similar accuracy to those produce using LiDAR at a much lower cost, FRA officials said in the report.

The Volpe center determined the process needed to achieve a simple measurement of ground clearance for these crossings. Volpe also made recommendations to FRA for pursuing the capability, as well as to work with the Federal Highway Administration to provide better information to drivers of low-clearance vehicles.

The report can be viewed here.

To learn more about other ways federal regulators are intensifying their push to advance grade crossing safety, read this article in Progressive Railroading's January issue.



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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