Application of light detection and ranging technology to assess safe passage of low-ground-clearance vehicles at highway-rail grade crossings

Myungwoo Lee, Aemal J. Khattak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The objectives of this research were to test and validate the feasibility of assessing humped highway-rail crossings for safe passage of vehicles with low ground clearance using lidar data. Collected using an airborne platform, lidar data provide georeferenced spatial information about the shape and surface characteristics of Earth. The suitability of humped highway-rail crossings for use by vehicles with low ground clearance and a long wheelbase is a concern because of the possibility of vehicles getting lodged on rail tracks. While such vehicles usually travel on designated routes, emergencies or highway closures may result in these vehicles traveling on undesignated highways with humped grade crossings. Lidar data and line-of-sight analysis in a geographic information system (GIS) were used to identify potentially problematic grade crossings for certain types of low-ground-clearance vehicles with a long wheelbase. Results of the GIS analysis were validated in the field at actual grade crossings with survey equipment. The main conclusion was that lidar data could be successfully used for identification of highway-rail crossing vehicle hang-up issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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