EVALUATION OF AN AUTOMATED HORN WARNING SYSTEM AT THREE HIGHWAY-RAILROAD GRADE CROSSINGS IN AMES, IOWA

In September 1998, the city of Ames, Iowa, began operation of three automated horn warning systems. Traditionally, locomotive engineers begin sounding the train horn approximately 0.25 mi (0.4 km) from the crossing to warn motorists and pedestrians approaching the intersection. This creates a large area adversely impacted by the horn noise, which includes residential areas. The automated horn system provides a similar audible warning to motorists and pedestrians by using two stationary horns mounted at the crossing. Each horn directs its sound toward the approaching roadway. The horn system is activated using the same track signal circuitry as the gate arms and bells located at the crossing. Once the horn is activated, a strobe light begins flashing to inform the locomotive engineer that the horn is working. If the strobe light is not flashing, or the locomotive engineer has a reason for concern, the engineer simply sounds the train horn. This study examined the effectiveness of the automated horn system in reducing the annoyance level for nearby residents and the overall safety at the crossings with the new system. The research included collecting horn volume data to develop noise level contour maps, using before-and-after surveys to document opinions of nearby residents and motorists, and surveying locomotive engineers to document their perception of the new systems. Findings revealed that for nearby residents, the automated horn system greatly reduced the negative impacts resulting from the loud train horns. The automated horns were well accepted by both motorists and locomotive engineers and appeared to provide an equivalent level of safety at the crossings.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 15 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00768912
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 22 1999 12:00AM