Local researchers aim to help first responders avoid railroad crossings

For most people, getting held up at a railroad crossing is an inconvenience. For first responders, it’s a delay that could cost lives.

Researchers with the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing have created navigation software that is the first of its kind.

“People don’t pay a lot of attention to the railroad transportation,” said Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Yu Qian. “But in a city like Columbia where you have like 72 railroad crossings, it’s very important.”

By tracking a train’s speed, location and direction, the software can determine when it will be at a certain crossing and for how long…

It also uses motion vision and artificial intelligence to compute congestion times caused by the vehicles waiting to cross.