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Non-vital advance rail preemption of signalized intersections near highway-rail grade crossings

Description: The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) primarily uses simultaneous preemption of traffic signals near highway-rail grade crossings to clear queued vehicles prior to the arrival of a train at the crossing. At some intersections, 20 seconds of advanced warning may not be sufficient to allow the traffic signal to clear pedestrians using the normal clearance intervals between phases. The research developed an alternative method (non-vital advance preemption) of ensuring adequate pedestrian clearance in the presence of an approaching train without interfering with the normal preemption sequence at the intersection or installing costly additional track circuitry needed to provide advance preemption. Two strategies were investigated to ensure pedestrian clearance time. The first utilizes a lower-level preemption sequence to guarantee full pedestrian clearance to a terminating phase before the traffic signal starts the preemption sequence. The second strategy uses the pedestrian-omit feature to prevent the controller from activating the pedestrian interval if there is not sufficient time in advance of the start of the preemption sequence to provide full pedestrian clearance.
Date: June 2007
Creator: Balke, Kevin N.; Engelbrecht, Roelof Johannes & Ruback, Leonard G.
Item Type: Report