Preventing Tragedies


Recent tragic railroad crossing accidents underscore the danger inherent at railroad crossings throughout the globe. A Boys Town Jerusalem student has devised an innovative solution to keep roads and lives safe when cars and trains intersect. Moshe Ukashi, 20, devoted his recent senior project at Boys Town Jerusalem’s College of Applied Engineering to creating a prototype utilizing a revolving railway crossing platform to automatically prevent deadly collisions between cars and trains.

The system is based around a circular moveable platform at the nexus of a railroad crossing. Two synchronized microcontrollers, one inside the train and one situated under the street that intersects with the train track, mastermind the system. A weight sensor placed upon this street section is programmed to transmit a signal when a heavy stationary weight (indicating a vehicle) is present at the time a train is approaching. Within five seconds, the train is alerted to slow its speed. Simultaneously, a motor below the moveable platform at the crossing is instantly activated to revolve at 90 degrees, virtually moving the section where the car is trapped. A new section of track snaps into place, clearing the way for the train to whiz by in absolute safety, as the automobile passengers are well out of harm’s way.

“I enjoyed the complex challenge of creating this project,” the Boys Town Jerusalem student noted. “Most crucial, of course, is its potential to save lives.” Moshe Ukashi (who frequently commutes by train) is from the city of Rehovoth. He was tapped by the Israel Defense Forces for special studies at Boys Town’s College of Applied Engineering to train electronics specialists for the Israeli Air Force. Moshe is presently considering becoming an officer in the career army following his initial five-year service in the IDF.

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