Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Active Stopped on Tracks Warning System

New York

As a part New York’s grade crossing safety technology initiative, members of the Benesch Team developed the Active Stopped on Tracks Warning (ASTW) system for grade crossings experiencing a high number of vehicles stopping on the tracks. Testing at multiple sites indicated the system averaged 90% effectiveness, meaning vehicles took action to move from the tracks.

The fully automated system combined visual and sound-based traffic control devices to order drivers off the tracks and initiate heightened warnings when a train was approaching the stopped vehicle.

With the support of the New York State Department of Transportation, four pilot grade crossings were identified, two on the Metro-North Railroad and two on the Long Island Railroad. The systems were developed and installed along with a vigorous monitoring and reporting program.

At the Roaring Brook Road test site, the ASTW video recording helped confirm a suspected problem and contributing cause of vehicles stopped on the tracks—queuing during peak traffic periods. With this information, the team was able to determine a preemption design to eliminate the queuing problem.

This project was completed as part of Benesch’s on-going, multi-million dollar contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to perform up to 450 railway-highway grade crossing assessments for the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road.

See the ASTW system in action at Roaring Brook Road.


Project highlights

  • Pilot program testing fully automated warning system
  • Monitoring and reporting on test results over one-year period
  • Resulted in additional improvements to test locations