Author Topic: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem  (Read 12473 times)

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Offline ez24

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There has been 126 crashes into this bridge:



It has a height sensor with a warning light which I assume helped a little.  What other ideas are there?

No lifting the rail tracks nor lowering road (because they have not done so).

The only thing I can think of is spike strips that automatically come up out of the road.  Maybe a horn?  I think a taser is out of the question (the windows might be closed).  Engine killer?  Paint balls?  Everything I can think of would not stop the truck in time. Electro magnet (assuming $$$ does not matter)?

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Offline Jeroen3

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2018, 08:47:50 pm »
 
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Online daqq

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2018, 08:56:04 pm »
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How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
Before issuing a drivers license, apply electric shocks until the driver has a clear understanding of road signs and the concept of height.
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Offline tooki

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2018, 09:04:04 pm »
There has been 126 crashes into this bridge:



It has a height sensor with a warning light which I assume helped a little.  What other ideas are there?

No lifting the rail tracks nor lowering road (because they have not done so).

The only thing I can think of is spike strips that automatically come up out of the road.  Maybe a horn?  I think a taser is out of the question (the windows might be closed).  Engine killer?  Paint balls?  Everything I can think of would not stop the truck in time. Electro magnet (assuming $$$ does not matter)?
Not only that, but occasionally overheight trucks turn into said trestle. (Though most do plow into it straight-on.)

Apparently, they’re limited in how early they can warn a driver because just before that intersection, there are side streets or alleyways or something that are used for deliveries to the buildings on that street.


What would be gained by spike strips or bollards that pop up? You’d just immobilize the truck a few feet earlier. The sudden stop would still cause injury to the driver/passengers. (As does indeed happen in the more severe crashes where it snags hard.) Remember, the thing they’re running into isn’t the bridge itself anymore, it’s the sacrificial steel beam they put up at bridge height a few years ago, to absorb the blow so the bridge itself isn’t damaged.

I assume digging a pit for a giant electromagnet would cost as much as simply digging the road lower, which I assume has been dismissed as an option for some reason or other.

Tasering the driver wouldn’t stop the truck, it’d just make it more dangerous. Same with paintballing it. The last thing you need is something distracting the driver away from the hazard ahead! Immobilizing an engine is equally unwise, insofar as you don’t want to disable power steering and brakes. (I assume the smaller trucks do not use air brakes like tractor-trailers do.)



This is probably a really good option.


Quote
How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
Before issuing a drivers license, apply electric shocks until the driver has a clear understanding of road signs and the concept of height.
I think the truck rental agencies need to do a better job of informing their customers of the truck heights — the casual little waiver on the contract and the sticker in the cab just aren’t enough IMHO. I assume that truck rental agencies there in Durham, NC (where that bridge is) probably do tell their customers, but rentals from farther away wouldn’t know about this hazard!
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 09:15:32 pm »
Low tech solution: a steel beam hung (by chains from poles so it's still free to move) an inch or two lower than the bridge a few tens of feet before the bridge. Colliding with it will make a loud noise, but with far less damage than colliding with the bridge itself.
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Offline ez24

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 09:18:42 pm »


This is good idea.  Somehow I think I need to let the officials know about it  :-+
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Offline Falcon69

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 09:19:42 pm »
It doesn't matter what is done. There are always the less intelligent of us all, born from a mother and father who are also their  aunt and uncle, that will always do idiotic things like what's going on with that bridge.

You can't stop stupid from doing stupid things.
 
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Offline Homer J Simpson

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 09:24:03 pm »
 
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Offline mariush

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 09:25:42 pm »
Laser or infrared sensors on each of the three sides  (trip the sensor if the truck is within 1-2 cm of the maximum height of the tunnel )
One fisheye lens or similar camera at the tunnel entry with some object recognition (or two cameras on each side of tunner, at 45 degree angle to detect if trucks turn or use their turn signal) ... when one of the three sensors trip, have the camera track the incoming vehicle and place that water STOP sign only when that truck takes the corner or gets within 5 meters or something like that.
Optionally display the estimated height of the vehicle under the stop sign...

The driver could go through very carefully if he thinks the 1-2 cm margin is good enough, or maybe he/she can lower the air pressure on suspentions or take out some air pressure from tires to go 1cm or so down, and continue at very slow speed

It would cost money, but then again just bill the insurance companies or the companies for which drivers drive and in a few months you'd have money to pay for this system
 

Offline glarsson

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 09:27:04 pm »
I assume digging a pit for a giant electromagnet would cost as much as simply digging the road lower, which I assume has been dismissed as an option for some reason or other.
There are sewage pipes just below the road. Lowering the whole sewage system in the city or adding pumping stations to a localized lowering is way to expensive. The iron beam is cheaper.  ...and more entertaining.  :popcorn:
 
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Offline drussell

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 09:35:51 pm »
There has been 126 crashes into this bridge:

126 captured so far by the 11foot8 guy's cameras.  :)  There have been hundreds, if not thousands more, over the years before he started filming. 

Quote
It has a height sensor with a warning light which I assume helped a little.  What other ideas are there?

No lifting the rail tracks nor lowering road (because they have not done so).

The only thing I can think of is spike strips that automatically come up out of the road.  Maybe a horn?  I think a taser is out of the question (the windows might be closed).  Engine killer?  Paint balls?  Everything I can think of would not stop the truck in time. Electro magnet (assuming $$$ does not matter)?

There are warning lights well before that intersection with appropriate signage...  Then there is the second set of sensors which turn the lights red at the intersection if an overheight truck still approaches, so the driver must ignore the first warning signs and lights, then instead of turning at the intersection onto the marked truck route, must run a red light in order to smash into the bridge. 

Drivers really have to try pretty hard to run into that thing...  :)  Yet it still happens...  :palm:

Raising the bridge would cost the railroad a fortune since they would have to modify the grade of the track for a very long distance to compensate.  Not cost effective, they're not going to do it.

Lowering the road is difficult because there are sewer mains and such under it which would have to be re-routed through some other passageway, which the roads people aren't going to do just to stop a couple idiots per year from smashing into the bridge's protection bar.  Not cost effective, they're not going to do it.

Plus, fixing it would remove a great source of humour from the interwebs!  :)
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 09:41:40 pm »
The first things that comes to mind...

 - the actual bridge (the thing you are trying to avoid) is incredibly inconspicuous. Yes there are some badly scraped yellow stripes on the protection bar, but the side of the bridge itself is black - why not make the whole side of the thing reflective Bright and conspicuous.

- The signage is confusing. The driver  is probably still trying to understand the grammar of "OVERHEIGHT MUST TURN" when he hits the bridge.

- The actual height limit sign is small in comparison to the above one, the driver probably doesn't even notice it while trying to decode the other one. If you asked him, he probably wouldn't have even registered the figures.

- It's adjacent to a lights controlled junction - lots of other lights, it just looks like some overhead hung lights (US style), the dark bridge fades into the background.


The bar hung on chains is common here - entrances to car parks etc. The solution doesn't have to be active.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 09:52:52 pm by Gyro »
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Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2018, 09:42:56 pm »
Low tech solution: a steel beam hung (by chains from poles so it's still free to move) an inch or two lower than the bridge a few tens of feet before the bridge. Colliding with it will make a loud noise, but with far less damage than colliding with the bridge itself.

Allot of parking garages have these. They have a pipe hanging in front of the entrance with the height limit marked on it.

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Offline RoGeorge

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2018, 09:47:50 pm »


Obviously, some drivers are direct descendants of Big Foot. Switch to metric!  :-DD

Online IanB

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 09:48:03 pm »
OK, the driver blatantly drove through a red light into the intersection fully 5 seconds after the light turned red. If someone is going run a red light at full speed without even attempting to slow down, no kind of warning about a low bridge is going to have any effect.

They have protected the bridge with an iron bar, so the bridge is safe. After that, drivers have to look after themselves.

Probably the best cure is already in place: expensive costs for drivers who ignore the warnings and run red lights.
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Offline drussell

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2018, 09:48:13 pm »
Laser or infrared sensors on each of the three sides  (trip the sensor if the truck is within 1-2 cm of the maximum height of the tunnel )

From 11foot8.com:

Quote
The city of Durham has installed “low clearance” signs on each of the 3 blocks leading up to the trestle (Gregson is a one-way road). There is a sensor that triggers an LED blackout warning sign when In overheight vehicle approaches the trestle (more info below). Several blocks ahead of the trestle the speed limit is 25 MPH. The folks from the city planning department said that they made an effort to prevent accidents.

The signage is good, and the vast majority of truck drivers notice the problem and avoid the bridge. Large signs alert driver to the low clearance several blocks before the bridge. Half a block before the trestle, a sensor detects overheight vehicles and triggers an LED blackout warning sign that was installed in May 2016. That same sensor also triggers a red-light phase at the traffic light directly in front of the trestle (installed in March 2016), so the driver has 50 seconds to read the warning sign next to the red traffic light and consider their next move.

Hmm..  In some ways I suppose it's like chess for truck drivers.  Consider their next move...  :-DD

BTW, the clearance to the crash bar is actually 11 feet, 10.8 inches....  At the outside edge of what they're allowed to have the sign show below the actual clearance.  (The sign must be withing 3 inches of actual clearance.)  This already gives drivers the maximum allowable leeway in what they think their height vs. the actual clearance is.
 
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Offline drussell

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2018, 09:49:50 pm »
Low tech solution: a steel beam hung (by chains from poles so it's still free to move) an inch or two lower than the bridge a few tens of feet before the bridge. Colliding with it will make a loud noise, but with far less damage than colliding with the bridge itself.

Allot of parking garages have these. They have a pipe hanging in front of the entrance with the height limit marked on it.

Bars or chains won't work, you have to be able to turn onto the truck route road:

Quote
A low clearance bar is a bar suspended by chains ahead of the bridge. Overheight vehicles hit that bar first and the noise alerts the driver to to the problem. I understand that this approach has been successful in other places, but it’s not practical here. There are many overheight trucks that have to be able to drive right up to the bridge and turn onto Peabody St. in order to deliver supplies to several restaurants. Making Peabody St inaccessible from Gregson St would make the restaurant owners and the delivery drivers very unhappy.
 
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Offline NANDBlog

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2018, 09:53:11 pm »
First of all, this clearly would have been avoided with the metric system. No doubt about that.

They usually place overhanging chains before bridges like this, 10-15m which hang lower than the bridge.

And if 126 documented crash happened here... Clearly it is bad design, not driver problem. Make it lower. Make it so, that it is clear that you cannot pass. Like every car can pass, and jerks with their empty Ford F430 get their roofs shredded.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2018, 09:54:15 pm »
- The signage is confusing. The driver  is probably still trying to understand the grammar of "OVERHEIGHT MUST TURN" when he hits the bridge.

- The actual height limit sign is small in comparison to the above one, the driver probably doesn't even notice it while trying to decode the other one. If you asked him, he probably wouldn't have even registered the figures.

That is only the last set of warnings.  There are signs for blocks before that to warn of the impending trouble.  One set even has the detector on it and flashes warning lights on the signs (even well before that last intersection intersection) that basically say "YOU ARE OVERHEIGHT!  YOU MUST TURN!"

People still smash into the bridge going through the red light.  :palm:
 
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Offline drussell

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2018, 10:06:25 pm »
Obviously, some drivers are direct descendants of Big Foot. Switch to metric!  :-DD
First of all, this clearly would have been avoided with the metric system. No doubt about that.

Yes, of course metric would solve the problem.  Everyone knows metric solves everything.    :P

Quote
For the convenience of our metric-only audience, here are the measurements we’re talking about in Meters:

  • 11foot8 (11 feet 8 inches) = 3.556 meters
  • 11 feet 10.8 inches = 3.627 meters
  • Safety margin: 7.1 cm (at the crest of the road)
   
Would this situation be better if the signage were metric? Well … take a look at his website: http://www.2m40.com/ (Warning: French. Metric)
   

(many LOLs...)

Quote
And if 126 documented crash happened here... Clearly it is bad design, not driver problem. Make it lower. Make it so, that it is clear that you cannot pass. Like every car can pass, and jerks with their empty Ford F430 get their roofs shredded.

It was built over 100 years ago and it's not likely to be rebuilt anytime soon.  :)

It seems like it works just fine, with only the most inattentive having their "roofs shredded."  Hilariously.  On camera for all to see.  Exquisite!  :)
 

Offline Tomorokoshi

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2018, 10:13:45 pm »
They should add a large sign with an illustration of the truck box getting shredded by the bridge.
 
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2018, 10:46:01 pm »
Simplest solution would be to close the road.  It obviously closes at regular intervals already to clear the debris.

Of course that would make many motorists drive a little further or even (gasp) walk.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2018, 10:52:29 pm »
Simplest solution would be to close the road.  It obviously closes at regular intervals already to clear the debris.

Of course that would make many motorists drive a little further or even (gasp) walk.

It is a main road leading to the port.  That's not a practical solution.

Trucks hit bridges all the time, this one just happens to be on a fairly busy road with cameras pointed at it 24/7 to display the outcomes of such trucking mishaps.  :)
 

Offline amyk

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2018, 11:20:22 pm »
I assume digging a pit for a giant electromagnet would cost as much as simply digging the road lower, which I assume has been dismissed as an option for some reason or other.
There are sewage pipes just below the road. Lowering the whole sewage system in the city or adding pumping stations to a localized lowering is way to expensive. The iron beam is cheaper.  ...and more entertaining.  :popcorn:
The pipes are a few feet below the road. Looking at the video, it seems the majority of trucks that hit the bridge are <1' from clearing it, so only a small lowering would help greatly.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2018, 11:24:31 pm »
Quote
How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
Before issuing a drivers license, apply electric shocks until the driver has a clear understanding of road signs and the concept of height.
People love to hate on other people in situations like these, but if behaviour is this consistent, blaming the people isn't going to work. It's like those perfect parent who would never leave their children in the car. The truth is they would. It's a flaw in human behaviour, not just shoddy parenting.

That's maybe the most freighting thing. You live your life the way everyone expects you to and are a responsible adult, until you suddenly aren't any more and you haven't even consciously made the wrong choice. It could happen to pretty much anyone.
 
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