Author Topic: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem  (Read 12457 times)

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Offline technix

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #125 on: January 10, 2018, 06:40:13 pm »
Lo-tech solution: disguise. Make the clearance look like 7ft or 8ft instead of 11ft 8in which is likely just a little bit too short for a truck, so passengers and cars can pass but trucks will see it as obviously way too low. A lot of those truck drivers feel that the bridge have enough clearance but in reality they are just a bit too tall for it.

I wonder if 12ft is kind of a standard height for trucks, If so, maybe digging the road surface a bit lower to get a clean 12.5in clearance instead?
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #126 on: January 10, 2018, 06:46:47 pm »
AFAIK, the primary duty of an "engineer" is tapping the watchdog button every minute or so.

if only that was the case -- there have been numerous train accidents which would have been prevented had the automatic braking systems been implemented per the law. I suppose it's cheaper to pay out for damages in lawsuits than to actually implement something to prevent the damages in the first place.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #127 on: January 10, 2018, 07:23:40 pm »
It didn't stop the most recent huge accident on the west coast, which I believe was due to human error, which wouldn't have happened, if it were fully automated.

That wasn't human error, that was institutional incompetence.

I read that the train that crashed was running over that route for the first time, and doing it as a scheduled service with passengers on board. Nobody who knows how to run a railway would do that. With all the new rail services being opened up in London (e.g. Crossrail), they run empty trains over the route for three months before letting passengers on board, both for driver training and for infrastructure shakedown.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #128 on: January 10, 2018, 07:38:14 pm »
There has been 126 crashes into this bridge:

SUE THE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY UNTIL THEY DIG THE ROAD DEEPER !

it is simple : there are rules how tall a truck can be. so every bridge must be at least taller than that rule. this one clearly does not meet the rules....
either close this underpass for all traffic and reroute it , or dig the road deeper. any other solution is unacceptable.

not with a counter at 126 ...
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #129 on: January 10, 2018, 08:28:04 pm »
The automated train control system is an interesting engineering/financial problem.  I have a electrical engineer acquaintance who installs these here in the US.  It is apparently a long involved process.  He spends about a year doing a segment of track.  I haven't talked with him about the details (what is involved in installation, length of a segment, number of hardware pieces, amount of customization required etc.).

The interesting question comes from taking this testimony at face value.  There are two choices parallel and serial.  Creating a large industry (workforce, infrastructure and so on) that will be largely shut down when installation is complete as maintenance can be expected to be a much smaller job, or spreading the installation over time.  The first choice minimizes wrecks and the second minimizes investment and economic dislocation of those in the industry.  While you can also bring in things like invention to speed the installation, the same fundamental problem will exist.  And obviously the train system in the US has opted for the second choice.  Good for this friend as it seems likely the job will last the rest of his life.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #130 on: January 10, 2018, 09:09:22 pm »
SUE THE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY UNTIL THEY DIG THE ROAD DEEPER !

it is simple : there are rules how tall a truck can be. so every bridge must be at least taller than that rule. this one clearly does not meet the rules....
either close this underpass for all traffic and reroute it , or dig the road deeper. any other solution is unacceptable.

not with a counter at 126 ...
This is the only thing that makes sense to me. The solution to the problem obviously isn't working at 126 accidents and counting. The changes just shifted the blame, which  obviously isn't a solution at all.

I'm honestly surprised no one got sued into submission over this. It might be a case of the authorities involved having some sort of legal immunity, I don't know.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #131 on: January 10, 2018, 09:26:45 pm »
126 accidents is not all that many, especially with no fatalities. There are highways not far from me that have on average a couple of fatal accidents every year and many more minor ones, they are much more dangerous than a low bridge. I'm not aware of any laws regarding bridge height, there are numerous height restrictions out there. As has already been discussed, raising the bridge or lowering the road both have been deemed not economically feasible. Unless people are dying I expect that to remain the case.
 
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #132 on: January 10, 2018, 09:48:02 pm »
126 accidents is not all that many, especially with no fatalities. There are highways not far from me that have on average a couple of fatal accidents every year and many more minor ones, they are much more dangerous than a low bridge. I'm not aware of any laws regarding bridge height, there are numerous height restrictions out there. As has already been discussed, raising the bridge or lowering the road both have been deemed not economically feasible. Unless people are dying I expect that to remain the case.
Apparently the overpass isn't up to standards, as those weren't around when the thing was built. Waiting for people to die is a common strategy and unfortunately one we can't really seem to shake. We inevitably lock the stable door after the horse has bolted. The aircraft industry is a good example, with there regularly being near disasters with little improvements being made, only making proper improvements after many died.

What's affordable to change or not obviously depends on the local situation regarding funding. I think it's safe to say that this situation wouldn't be acceptable in some countries, as is evidenced by similar situations not being present there, while it's probably more common in other, less funded countries. Unfortunately, it does seem to fit the narrative of the ageing US infrastructure.

Though it's probably a mistake to view it purely as an economical matter, as that ignores public sector and business ethics.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #133 on: January 10, 2018, 10:37:13 pm »
But if you have 100 projects that need doing, resources exist to complete 10 of them, and 20 of them are resulting in occasional deaths are you going to tackle the one that is causing inattentive drivers to wreck trucks without any serious injuries so far?

In reality I think assuming we have the resources to complete 10% of the infrastructure projects that really need doing is being very optimistic.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #134 on: January 11, 2018, 12:12:46 am »
But if you have 100 projects that need doing, resources exist to complete 10 of them, and 20 of them are resulting in occasional deaths are you going to tackle the one that is causing inattentive drivers to wreck trucks without any serious injuries so far?

In reality I think assuming we have the resources to complete 10% of the infrastructure projects that really need doing is being very optimistic.

Particularly true when you look into the cost of actually doing these things.  Starting with the economic analysis, the neighborhood impact report, the environmental impact report ....   They could easily spend a million dollars before the actual design of a modified crossing could start.  And then recognizing that because there are so many parties involved that scheduling will be a nightmare and this project could actually take two or more years to complete once ground is broken.  You will never have so much "fun" as you try to coordinate permissions and work between a railroad and a few utilities.   The marching army costs are enormous.
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #135 on: January 11, 2018, 12:53:48 am »
"...the bridge cannot be raised because doing so would require the tracks to be raised for several miles to adjust the incline. North Carolina Railroad doesn’t want to pay for the enormous expense it would entail.
The bridge cannot be lowered either because there is a major sewer line running only four feet under the street."

Prices for bridge work and Civil engineering projects are just insane. My municipality paid $250M for an overpass over a 6-lane road.

Take 126 incidents with an average repair cost/insurance claim of $10,000 and that's $1.26M of damages.
It's still nothing compared to costs to bring this 1940 mess up to modern standards.


pic from Mark Clifton
 
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #136 on: January 11, 2018, 01:15:01 am »
But if you have 100 projects that need doing, resources exist to complete 10 of them, and 20 of them are resulting in occasional deaths are you going to tackle the one that is causing inattentive drivers to wreck trucks without any serious injuries so far?

In reality I think assuming we have the resources to complete 10% of the infrastructure projects that really need doing is being very optimistic.
Yes, fair enough. The US doesn't seem to have or want to spend the funds to get all the infrastructure done up. That's where the governmental or business ethics come in. Is shifting that problem upon a group of people who got caught out really the way to approach that? Many people seem to think it is, while I have my doubts that's how society should do things.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #137 on: January 11, 2018, 01:25:53 am »
I'm all for improving infrastructure and given unlimited resources this is something I would tackle. I'm just saying it's pretty far down on the list so there's no sense in focusing on it now. There are thousands of projects that have much better cost to benefit ratios, many of which already cause somewhat regular fatalities.
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #138 on: January 11, 2018, 02:40:15 am »
All electronics can do with this problem is sound an alarm to alert the driver.
Lights, horns, water, laser beams, cannon blast, drop a barricade etc.
Or something in-cab as driver assist.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #139 on: January 11, 2018, 02:41:47 am »
Lo-tech solution: disguise. Make the clearance look like 7ft or 8ft instead of 11ft 8in which is likely just a little bit too short for a truck, so passengers and cars can pass but trucks will see it as obviously way too low.

US DOT rules requires somewhere like +-3in error between actual height and rated clearance.
 

Offline amyk

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #140 on: January 11, 2018, 02:46:32 am »
"OVERHEIGHT WHEN FLASHING" is definitely too vague to make any sort of meaningful alert. In reference to a previously posted sign in this thread, how about:

IF THESE LIGHTS ARE FLASHING
YOU WILL HIT THAT BRIDGE
 

Offline tooki

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #141 on: January 11, 2018, 02:47:45 am »
Lo-tech solution: disguise. Make the clearance look like 7ft or 8ft instead of 11ft 8in which is likely just a little bit too short for a truck, so passengers and cars can pass but trucks will see it as obviously way too low.

US DOT rules requires somewhere like +-3in error between actual height and rated clearance.
Correct, and since the bridge is actually just shy of 11'11", they're very deliberately at the outer edge of what they can get away with. But technix wasn't talking about changing the posted height, but rather camouflaging the actual height to make it look lower. Not sure how one would do this, though!
 

Offline tooki

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #142 on: January 11, 2018, 02:58:26 am »
First of all, this clearly would have been avoided with the metric system. No doubt about that.
http://www.2m40.com/ begs to differ.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #143 on: January 11, 2018, 03:00:13 am »
"OVERHEIGHT WHEN FLASHING" is definitely too vague to make any sort of meaningful alert. In reference to a previously posted sign in this thread, how about:

IF THESE LIGHTS ARE FLASHING
YOU WILL HIT THAT BRIDGE
There is no "OVERHEIGHT WHEN FLASHING" sign. There is a sign that says:
Trucks over 11'8"
=======>


The sensors a) change the traffic lights to red (allowing for a safe right turn before the bridge) and b) light up a sign that says:
OVERHEIGHT
MUST TURN

Didn't you see that in the video?!?
If you still plow through that and an unambiguous red light into the bridge, I'm sorry, you're either an idiot or unconscious.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #144 on: January 11, 2018, 03:04:58 am »
US DOT rules requires somewhere like +-3in error between actual height and rated clearance.

I rather doubt that. If the actual height is 11'11" they are not allowed to post a clearance height of 12'2". What they post must be lower than the actual height by some safety margin. So it might be -3 inches to -6 inches for example.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline Nusa

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #145 on: January 11, 2018, 03:40:50 am »
Lo-tech solution: disguise. Make the clearance look like 7ft or 8ft instead of 11ft 8in which is likely just a little bit too short for a truck, so passengers and cars can pass but trucks will see it as obviously way too low.

US DOT rules requires somewhere like +-3in error between actual height and rated clearance.

A max of 3 in difference between signage and actual clearance, obviously only in the safe direction. In this case the actual height of the crash bar and bridge is 11 ft 10.8 in, so anyone who thought they were going to make 11 ft 8 in really has no excuse.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #146 on: January 11, 2018, 03:43:01 am »
I would post a sign near the bridge says last driver who ran into the bridge paid $xx k to fix their truck and $yy k to fix the bridge and $zz k to government as punishment.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #147 on: January 11, 2018, 04:03:56 am »
I would post a sign near the bridge says last driver who ran into the bridge paid $xx k to fix their truck and $yy k to fix the bridge and $zz k to government as punishment.
Uh huh, right. Cuz people who plow through red lights are gonna take the time to read a novel-length road sign. That's no distraction at all, nosiree...  :palm:

P.S. Don't you live in NC at the moment? You should drive down there and check it out, be our eyes and ears on the ground! Also, Morgan Imports, the shop at the corner there, is awesome!
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #148 on: January 11, 2018, 04:23:46 am »
Uh huh, right. Cuz people who plow through red lights are gonna take the time to read a novel-length road sign. That's no distraction at all, nosiree...  :palm:

P.S. Don't you live in NC at the moment? You should drive down there and check it out, be our eyes and ears on the ground! Also, Morgan Imports, the shop at the corner there, is awesome!

Will definitely visit this meme place in short future.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: How would you use electronics to solve the 11' 8" bridge problem
« Reply #149 on: January 11, 2018, 07:42:03 am »
I would post a sign near the bridge says last driver who ran into the bridge paid $xx k to fix their truck and $yy k to fix the bridge and $zz k to government as punishment.
I think something like that is everyone's first impulse. Rub their noses in it! That should teach them. However, considering the history of the place, it's unlikely it's going to make any difference. You could probably put the death penalty on hitting the overpass and shoot their entire families to boot, and it's probably not going to make much of a difference. People aren't hitting the thing intentionally and have to suffer significant consequences as it is, as rental insurancas generally don't cover overhead damage. The average bill is probably into the many tens of thousands of dollars. The drivers all have the incentive in the world to not hit the overpass. It's also not a matter of people not being able to see the warning signs that were put up. The problem is that they're not properly perceiving them and that's not going to change. You could add all sort of bells and whistles, but it's probably only going to distract drivers from what they need to pay attention to even more.

I must say that I'm honestly fairly surprised by the responses on this forum. I thought the engineering type would be much more practically inclined, rather than moralistically. I learned something.
 


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