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For a number of years, Australia has suffered numerous road fatalities because of cars and trucks having collisions with trains at road rail level crossings.
Generally, these have occurred in rural areas where the rail line is partially or totally obscured and there is no active warning system for road users approaching the railway crossing.
Many have occurred at night when long freight trains already occupy the intersecting railway and road in rural areas where there is no street lighting to illuminate the area. Freight trains generally have no visible or reflective markings on the rail wagons and as such provide no discernible sign that it is a freight train when those wagons are at the level crossing.
One of Australia's most notable train accidents occured in Kerang in the state of Victoria where 11 people died and 23 injured due to a 40 tonne semi-trailer collided with a passenger train service in a remote rural locality at 1pm (13:00 hours) in broad daylight.
This and other accidents resulted in a cooperative effort between VicRoads and VicTrack to put out to tender a Active Advanced Warning System (AAWS) for road users to avoid such fatalities.
Aldridge Traffic Controllers have designed and delivered the solution which is now the family of AWSC4 Active Advanced Warning Sign Controllers to VicTrack and VicRoads to avoid such fatalities.
The AWSC4 is a sophisticated monitoring system that is activated by a railway generated signal that a train is approaching the railway level crossing. Independent redundant hardware then commences flashing amber LED Lanterns attached to reflective signs to warn approaching cars and trucks that they must slow down and stop at up to 200m from the level crossing.
ATC produce two versions, a mains AC powered version (AWSC4) and a standalone solar powered version (AWSC4-SOL) of the Advanced Warning Sign Controllers.