OPTEX REDSCAN laser detection technology is at the heart of a system developed and delivered in the UK to enhance the safety of more than 400 level crossings from Scotland to the South Coast.

Following nearly two years of testing, Tew Plus, which since belongs to LB Foster, achieved full Network Rail Product Approval for its Level Crossing Obstacle Detector (LIDAR) using the OPTEX REDSCAN as the core detection element. The complete MCB-OD Level Crossings solution incorporates the LIDAR as the Complementary Obstacle Detector (COD) working alongside RADAR and CCTV surveillance equipment.

While the RADAR system is used to detect vehicles or large objects that can cause damage to the train and endanger the safety of its passengers, the LIDAR system is designed to protect pedestrians or cyclists who could be trapped between the barriers. The system is sensitive enough to detect a nine year-old child standing, laying upon or crossing the track.

The signalling system tells the LIDAR system when the Level Crossing is active, and the detection system scans the crossing area within the barriers accordingly. If the crossing is clear, the signal turns green and the train can go through safely. If an object is detected, then the barriers are raised to enable that object (a vehicle or pedestrian) to leave the area before allowing the train to pass.

The system is fully automated: if the object is static and the system has gone through three cycles, a message can be sent to the train driver to proceed with caution at no more than 5 mph to determine what it is obstructing the track.

Network Rail has deployed the LiDAR based solution to over 100 level crossings and is still rolling the solution out across the United Kingdom. While the main purpose of the solution is to make railway crossing safer, the solution helps with law enforcement when damages have been made to the barriers by reckless drivers.

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