The railroad crossing result into traffic management problem that have impact not only on the traffic flow efficiency but traffic safety as well. Crossings that are located around the freeway exits cause traffic problems, because the long closures often result in long queues of vehicle which spread back into the freeway lanes. The best solutions for tackling this major issue was analysed by finding the use of variable message displays and signboards that divert the traffic at non-congested lanes. The use of VMS on such high traffic volume has shown network improvements in the past few years.
Highway-Railroad crossings safety concerns.
The railroad crossings often create safety issues for the vehicles crossing the traffic. Not only they raise traffic concerns but also show their impact on the traffic flow performance every time a train blocks the movements of vehicles across the rail tracks. These blockages then generated delays which are more pronounced in urban areas where trains running at low speed result into the chaos in the railroad crossings. The inaccurate information about the train, running time and the time of crossing the rail road leads to wastage of time because the crossings remain blocked for several minutes. The blockage on the railroad crossing later creates traffic congestion on the freeway exit lanes. The impacts of railway crossing are even more troublesome for emergency vehicles.
Role of variable message signs
The information received by radar sensors are displayed on variable message sign boards when the sensors are placed in selected locations to detect the speed, presence and length of approaching trains. After the sensor detects accurate information about the train, data received from the radars are quickly transmitted to the control centre. At control centre, the computer algorithms calculate the duration of railway crossing blockage and the arrival time of train. This information is finally displayed on the mobile variable message sign boards placed at various locations. This way, the signage alerts the motorists, drivers and road users about the potential delays ahead. Thus the VMSs allow the road users to avoid the congested area. They can opt for the alternate exit by changing their route and driving towards the location where there is lesser traffic.
The use of variable message signage can be the best way of preventing the long blockages and avoid the high traffic areas. Through latest technology, message on the sign boards are displayed accurately. The use of VMS has been proven effective at warning freeway motorists about the congestion issues at the railroad crossing. The dynamic approach and use of latest technology allow conveying an accurate message about traffic conditions, gap acceptance and routings and traffic controls. This signage can not only be used estimate the delays, the arrival of train but also to check vehicle fuel emissions and consumptions on the network.
The crux of this article is that the impact of railroad crossings on traffic flow can be best regulated with the use of variable message sign displays. The VMS has gained worldwide appreciation including the engineering forms and transportation agencies. The delays and congestion that are often caused by express passenger trains, passage of freight trains and light-rail trains at the railroad crossings can be greatly reduced by displaying accurate information on the signboards.