Engineering professors take guesswork out of railway crossing safety

Monday, October 28, 2013

Railway safety experts

Making sure people are safe at a railway crossing involves considering everything from the condition of the road and railway, to accident history and speed of the traffic and trains.

Liping Fu and Frank Saccomanno, both Waterloo civil and environmental engineering professors, along with their students have developed a unique web-based software program called GradeX that is taking the guesswork out of safety at railway crossings.

“Transport Canada makes a huge investment every year in railway crossings across the country and they want to make sure decisions are based on science,” says Fu.

GradeX is a web application that his research team has developed over the past decade to assess danger at over 30,000 rail crossings in Canada and to rank them according to the risk.

Transport Canada collects information about the condition of roads or highways where railways cross. They look at the condition of the pavement, traffic, sightline, speed, and other factors that affect safety.

“We take that information and run it through GradeX which gives us the rankings,” says Fu. GradeX is available on a website and is easily accessible to engineers who need the information.  [Waterloo Stories]

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