Engineering Safer Rail Travel
The NASC Transportation Technology Acoustics Group (TTAG) leverages experts from across the various NASC sectors, especially the Advanced Acoustics Sector, to provide solutions for the U.S. Department of Transportation and Railroad Industry in freight and commuter rail. This team of physicists and engineers have decades of experience in research and development, prototyping, scientific data collection, and analysis, both in the laboratory and field settings for the U.S. Government.
Specialized expertise includes mathematical modeling, instrumentation and equipment prototype design and fabrication. Also included are hydrodynamics, software design, computer-controlled digital and analog data collection, and research in acoustic ambient noise, transmission loss, and reverberation.
Wheel Load Cycle TAG for Rail
NASC incrementally designed, fabricated, and extensively tested a small, self-powered Wheel Load Cycle TAG device installed directly to the web of the rail, with the potential to ascertain and count train wheel passages and discern rolling train loads by associating an “empty” or “loaded” status with each train movement event. The measured statistical data is stored internally to the device. In concert with the sensor development, research was conducted to implement non-contact measurement data extraction via RFID techniques. Lab-based testing was conducted using Near Field Communications implemented for cell phones.
Long Range Right of Way Detection System
The NASC TTAG has been awarded a SBIR Phase I contract from the Volpe Center, under the U.S Department of Transportation, for the development of a Long Range Right of Way Detection and Warning System.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety, the number of fatalities due to unlawful trespassing, and at Grade Crossings, represented about 94% of the total railroad-related fatalities in 2013. Under this contract, NASC will provide the research needed to develop a reliable warning system to detect and report any trespasser or obstacle that may represent a potential accident or risk to the train engineer.