Channel Propagation Model for Train to Vehicle Alert System at 5.9 GHz using Dedicated Short Range Communication

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Virginia Tech

The most common railroad accidents today involve collisions between trains and passenger vehicles at railroad grade crossings [1][2]. Due to the size and speed of a train, these collisions generally result in significant damage and serious injury. Despite recent efforts by projects such as Operation Lifesaver to install safety features at grade crossings, up to 80% of the United States railroad grade crossings are classified as 'unprotected' with no lights, warnings, or crossing gates [2]. Further, from January to September 2012, nearly 10% of all reported vehicle accidents were a result of train-to-vehicle collisions. These collisions also accounted for nearly 95% of all reported fatalities from vehicular accidents [2].

To help provide a more rapidly deployable safety system, advanced dedicated short range communication (DSRC) systems are being developed. DSRC is an emerging technology that is currently being explored by the automotive safety industry for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications to provide intelligent transportation services (ITS). DSRC uses WAVE protocols and the IEEE 1609 standards. Among the many features of DSRC systems is the ability to sense and then provide an early warning of a potential collision [6]. One potential adaption for this technology is for use as a train-to-vehicle collision warning system for unprotected grade crossings. These new protocols pose an interesting opportunity for enhancing cybersecurity since terrorists will undoubtedly eventually identify these types of mass disasters as targets of opportunity.

To provide a thorough channel model of the train to vehicle communication environment that is proposed above, large-scale path loss and small scale fading will both be analyzed to characterize the propagation environment. Measurements were collected at TTCI in Pueblo Colorado to measure the received signal strength in a train to vehicle communication environment. From the received signal strength, different channel models can be developed to characterize the communication environment.

Documented metrics include large scale path loss, Rician small scale fading, Delay spread, and Doppler spread. An analysis of the DSRC performance based on Packet Error Rate is also included.

Path Loss, Channel Model, System Feasibility