AN AUTOMATED RAILWAY STATION TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM
Majority of accidents experienced with railway transportation involve collision with automobiles or other vehicles and collision with other trains. These collisions can be averted by putting safety measures in place. Part of the measures can be achieved by using computerized railway station traffic control systems that use microcontrollers and electromechanical devices to shift traffic from one rail lane to another and also to operate the level crossing gate. The two major stages of the system being described here are thus the track switching stage and the level crossing gate stage. The system makes use of microcontrollers for decision making. The microcontrollers are programmed to detect signals from sensors and to output the processed signals to control electromagnetic devices through motor drivers. The codes for the microcontrollers were written in PIC Basic programming language and were debugged and compiled using Micro Code Studio Integrated Development Environment. The resultant Hex files were programmed into the memory of the microcontrollers with the aid of a universal programmer. Software simulation was carried out using the Proteus virtual system modeling software. A scaled down prototype of the system was built and tested. The prototype was able to execute all the decisions required to control the given railway station. A practical real life system would require the scaling up of the power required to drive the various motors; the logic of the system would however remain unchanged. The inclusion of the automated traffic control lighting system at the level crossing gate in the system eliminates the fatigue and tedium associated with a manually controlled traffic system. The computerized railway station traffic control system which helps in track switching and level crossing gate traffic control is capable of improving reliability, speed, operational safety and efficiency of the railway transportation system.