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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Effectiveness of Wayside Detector Technologies on Train Operation Safety

Document Series
Technical Reports
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
Subject Rolling Stock
Advanced Technology Safety Initiative, ATSI, derailment cause, final alert, high impact wheel loads, Truck Hunting Detector, THD, wayside detection, Wheel Impact Load Detector, WILD, Truck Performance Detector, TPD, rolling stock, derailments, accidents

Under the safety mandate for wayside detection technology, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has contributed to the development and deployment of various such technologies under its wayside detection research program. The goal of this project was to assess the state of major wayside detection system installations in the US rail network and their effectiveness in derailment incidents reduction. A secondary objective was to identify the derailment causes which require FRA’s attention to encourage technology development to address these areas and promote deployment of the proven detection systems. The Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) Integrated Railway Remote Information Service (InteRRIS®) database was accessed to gather data on detector system installation growth and vehicle performance indices data. The FRA derailment database was queried to determine derailment trends, associated causes and costs. The reported analysis shows a strong correlation between the growth in installation of Wheel Impact Load (WILD), Truck Performance Detectors (TPD) and Truck Hunting Detectors (THD), and the reduction in the number of derailments. The trends show that the railroads have improved operational safety through proactive wayside monitoring and detection of vehicle performance. The analysis shows that the major derailment causes that still require detection technology innovation are broken wheel rim and transverse/compound fissure of rail.

Last updated: Monday, June 13, 2022