Active Stopped on Tracks Warning System

Metropolitan Transportation Authority | Statewide, New York
Photo of an active warning stop system on Roaring Brook Road at an at-grade railroad crossing

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.

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.

Practice Areas


See the ASTW system in action at Roaring Brook Road

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.