PeriLight:<br>flashing light directs attention at level crossings

PeriLight directs attention with flash lights at level crossings

PeriLight is a system developed by the DLR to increase the attention of car drivers at open level crossings, reducing the risk of accidents. Accidents at level crossings usually entail serious consequences. Approximately every fourth accident ends in a death. The risk of accidents is particularly high at crossings without barriers.

Around 95% of all accidents at level crossings can be traced back to an error in the behaviour of the road user. A lack of awareness, inattention and carelessness are the main reasons for collisions. Results of research conducted by the DLR have shown that the majority of road users at open level crossings do not look to the left and right for approaching trains. With PeriLight – a system designed to direct the driver's view – DLR has developed a technical addition to existing passive security measures at level crossings. PeriLight is designed to cause car drivers to look left and right, enabling them to notice an approaching train in time and brake.

The central elements of PeriLight are two flashing LED light sources located next to the rails approximately 50 m to the left and right of the level crossing. PeriLight is automatically triggered as soon as the driver passes through a road side sensor located 80 m before the level crossing. The lights alternately pulse white and hot pink, left and right for 10 repetitions – this attracts the attention of the road user in their direction to the left and right periphery of the level crossing. PeriLight makes use of automatic processes in human visual information processing. The pulsing light in the peripheral field of vision triggers the road user's visual attention to be redirected towards the area where a train is lightly to approach from. The correct and necessary behaviour at level crossings, looking left and right, is thus triggered instinctively. PeriLight could be tried out by taking the role of a car driver in a driving simulator at InnoTrans 2016.

Retrofitting classic safety systems to level crossings is generally very costly, in part due to the need to incorporate these solutions into the railway's existing management and safety engineering systems. In contrast, PeriLight functions completely independently of all railway infrastructure as it is triggered not by the train, as usual safety devices, but by the road user. Open level crossings are by definition "secured" through signage and keeping the field of vision clear. PeriLight is independent of management and safety engineering, making it an add-on system which could be an extremely cost-effective way of enhancing existing technical safety systems at critical passive level crossings.


At the InnoTrans visitors could try out PeriLight themselves by taking the role of a car driver in a driving simulator.

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