The United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), under the direction of the USDOT Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Research and Development (ORD), conducted a reliability analysis of the four-quadrant gate/vehicle detection equipment installed on the potential high-speed rail (HSR) corridor between Chicago and St Louis. A total of 69 highway-rail grade crossings on a 121-mile (195 km) segment of the 280-mile corridor were equipped with four-quadrant gates and inductive loop vehicle detection technology. This segment, between Mazonia and Springfield Illinois, may eventually carry passenger trains at speeds up to 110 mph (177 km/h), including at many of the highway-rail grade crossings. The analysis was based on maintenance records obtained from the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR), the owner and operator of the rail line. The results were used to assess the impact of the equipment reliability on the proposed HSR timetable. The Volpe Center study showed that the total average delay to the five scheduled daily high-speed passenger roundtrips was an estimated 10.5 minutes, or approximately one minute per train. Overall, extensive analysis of the trouble ticket data showed that the four-quadrant gate and vehicle detection equipment had a minimal direct impact on the frequency and duration of grade crossing malfunctions.

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