Railroad Monitoring Systems

Railroad Preemption

Similar to traffic signals, railroad signals can allocate signal timing based on trains approaching the crossing. The US 90A traffic signals are programmed to receive an advance warning signal from the approaching train. The signal controller (receiving the preemption call) will provide green time to the approach with the railroad crossing and allow vehicles to clear the track. Once the crossing gates go down, the US 90A signals will serve the other approaches until the train clears the crossing. Then the signals will transition back to synchronized signal timing along the corridor.

Wayside Horns

The City of Sugar Land is a national leader in improving quality of life through train horn noise reduction. Sugar Land was the first community in the United States to enter into an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad regarding the installation of noise-reducing “wayside horns” after the Federal Railroad Administration issued its train horn rule in 2005. Union Pacific has since used Sugar Land’s agreement as a template for other communities. The city subsequently installed wayside horns at 10 crossings through Sugar Land and established a “quiet zone” at the State Highway 6 rail crossings. The cumulative effect of these improvements was a significant quality of life improvement by reducing train horn noise, while continuing to maintain safety at rail crossings. The wayside horns will activate once train preemption begins and continue till the train reaches the track crossing. Also, the Flashing “X” indicators notify the train engineer that the wayside horn is active.
Railroad Wayside Horn

Railroad Monitoring System

In 2012, the City of Sugar Land funded the installation of the Railroad Monitoring System along the UP railroad & US 90A corridor. The railroad monitoring equipment was installed to read the preemption signal and doppler readings as the train traveled through the crossing. The monitoring information is then transmitted via bluetooth devices through TranStar and the city website. The railroad monitoring map provides the train’s location and speed and the railroad crossings that received preemption calls. The main benefit of the monitoring system is that first responders can quickly check the train traffic before traveling to an emergency call.
The Rail Monitor System is shown as a Map item on the ITS Website (click on the Rail Crossing Status layer). The rail monitor map is also available through the city's official mobile app.

                 Courtesy of Texas A&M Transportation Institute and their Rail Monitor Website