Monday, September 24, 2012

NJ DOT and NJ Transit unveils “Another Train Coming” safety device

Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chairman James Simpson joined NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein September 21 at Plauderville Station in Garfield to unveil a new "Another Train Coming" rail safety device designed to enhance pedestrian safety around the tracks. The installation is part of an ongoing effort to ramp up rail safety across the state through recommendations from the NJ Safety at Railroad Crossings Leadership Oversight Committee.

"Ensuring the safety of NJ Transit customers and residents in the communities we serve requires a multifaceted approach, which is what the committee aims to achieve through its 'E-cubed' tactics-engineering, enforcement and education," said Commissioner Simpson. "While Plauderville Station's new technological warning system represents the engineering component, it will be supported by an array of other initiatives, including crossing enforcement by the NJ Transit Police Department and NJ Transit's continuous efforts to educate our school children through our successful rail safety program."

The New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJ Transit recently installed the "Another Train Coming" warning system at the Outwater Lane grade crossing, adjacent to the Plauderville rail station. The warning system consists of active signs in all four quadrants of the rail crossing, with an LED text message that reads, "DANGER, Another Train Coming," as well as an audio component that repeatedly sounds the same message.

NJDOT and NJ TRANSIT implemented the "Another Train Coming" warning system as part of a pilot program recommended by the NJ Safety at Railroad Crossings Leadership Oversight Committee, comprised of representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NJ Department of Education, State Police, Motor Vehicle Commission and NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety, NJ Transit Police, NJDOT, NJ TRANSIT and Operation Lifesaver.

NJDOT and NJ Transit are conducting the "Another Train Coming" pilot program at Plauderville Station to test the effectiveness of the signs and determine whether this type of system may be used on other grade crossings in the NJ Transit rail system. The Volpe Center, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is participating in the evaluation and analysis of the warning sign's effectiveness under an agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration.

In addition to the "Another Train Coming" signs, NJDOT and NJ Transit made several other enhancements to the Outwater Lane grade crossing, including an additional pedestrian gate, a delineated sidewalk and 300 feet of additional fencing along the railroad right-of-way.

Among other engineering action items recommended by the committee is a pilot program to evaluate the effectiveness of "gate skirts," which create a barrier below an activated grade-crossing gate to deter pedestrians from "ducking" under. NJ Transit continues testing the gate skirts at Aberdeen-Matawan Station.

In addition, NJDOT and NJ Transit will deploy variable message signs (VMS) starting in October, rotating them among high-risk grade-crossing locations to remind pedestrians of the importance of obeying warning and safety devices.

The "Another Train Coming" warning system cost approximately $83,000, funded by the state.

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