November Webinar

  • An Automated System for Rail Transit Infrastructure Inspection
  • 11/21/2014

Presenter(s)

  • Yuanchang Xie
    University of Massachusetts

    Tian Xia
    University of Vermont

    Jenny Liu
    University of Alaska Fairbanks

Abstract

Track inspection is critical for both freight and transit rail safety. Currently, rail transit agencies rely heavily on visual inspection, which is time and resource consuming and sometimes unreliable. To address this issue, this research introduces a system that integrates Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), 3D laser, GIS, and GPS to automatically collect and georeference surface and subsurface rail data. Algorithms have been developed to interpret the collected data and to identify rail infrastructure surface and subsurface defects, such as broken ties, missing bolts, and fouled ballast. Also, a WebGIS-based decision support system with user-friendly interface is being developed to help rail transit employees without GPR and laser background to utilize the data. Preliminary results reveal that the newly proposed system is a promising and reliable alternative compared to visual inspection method. The developed system is also cost-effective and can be readily mounted on a hi-rail vehicle that virtually every rail transit agency owns. With the aging rail infrastructure, this automatic system is expected to substantially benefit the rail transit industry by improving track inspection efficiency, accuracy, and the safety of both rail transit systems and track workers.

Speaker Bio(s)

Yuanchang Xie, Ph.D., P.E., is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell. Tian Xia is an associate professor with the School of Engineering, University of Vermont. Jenny Liu, Ph.D., P.E., Director of CESTiCC, is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UAF.

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  • Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC)
  • PO Box 75 5900
  • Fairbanks, AK 99775-5900