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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

Trespasser Detection Systems on Railroad Rights-of-Way

Document Series
Technical Reports
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
Subject Grade Crossing Technology, Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, Trespass Countermeasures
Highway-rail, grade crossing, humped crossing, photogrammetry, LiDAR

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center, under the direction of DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration Office of Research, Development, and Technology, conducted a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of trespass detection technology on rail property linked to and controlled by a local police department. The system was operated for several years, while different communications and sensor technologies were tested for their abilities to overcome shortcomings. Researchers found that wireless broadband service in this area was insufficient in providing uninterrupted high-resolution video from multiple cameras, and while TV white space transceivers had adequate bandwidth, their short transmission range limited their usefulness. Providing live video directly to the local police department resulted in quick response to trespassing events; however, dispatchers were particularly unhappy with false alarms.

Last updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2020