Time to cross

MOTORISTS in South Sioux City, Iowa, will soon be able to learn how long they will have to wait for passing freight trains to clear a level crossing on the busy Dakota Avenue.

The federally-funded National Intelligent Transportation System is planning to study the behaviour patterns of waiting motorists, in an effort to determine if knowledge of how long they will be delayed will make them less frustrated.

The level crossing is used by around 16 trains on a typical day, each of which requires up to 7min to pass. Sensors will be placed on the railway about 1·6 km from the crossing in both directions, and will detect the presence of a train and measure its length and speed.

This data will then be transmitted by radio links to a logic centre, where a computer will calculate the time it will take for the train to clear the crossing.

The information will then be transmitted to a large electronic sign positioned at the roadside where it can be read by the waiting motorists.