Crossing arms may be operated inside SunRail trains

FDOT to reveal new technology that may lower crossing accidents

ORLANDO, Fla. – In the coming days, the Florida Department of Transportation will reveal brand new technology that could lower SunRail crossing accidents.

The development is coming in the same week that SunRail will look to celebrate its first anniversary.

Since it started last May, there have been a number of accidents at SunRail crossings, the most recent coming at the end of March in Maitland.

Drivers in the area claimed that SunRail crossing arms would lower as the train approached the station, but at times would go back up before the train departed.

"I've seen the arms go down, then back up, then back down," said Caleb Bartlett, who's worked at a construction site near the SunRail station on East Rollins Street for the last year and a half.

That's where the new technology comes into play. FDOT calls them BTMF transmitters and said they will give the SunRail operators the option of remotely lowering and raising gates so that they are able to leave the stations in a more timely fashion.

The department said the technology is in the testing phase, but will likely be rolled out to SunRail stations next month. The device itself will allow conductors to "key down" a specific code depending on the crossing to allow the traffic arms to drop.

FDOT said the key down option won't be available at every crossing, just the ones closest to SunRail stations.

Bartlett said the new device will make a big impact on construction drivers at his site who frequent the crossing daily.

"That's huge," Bartlett said. "Giving the train conductor the power to drop the crossing guards seems like a good thing."