The City of Columbus continues to prepare for the expected massive increase in train traffic through the city. On Monday, city officials announced the launch of a web-based train status page that will allow you to see if a train is approaching the intersection of Indiana 11 and State Road 46. Heather Pope, with the city’s Redevelopment Department, says the technology behind the page was designed by Isaiah Bowman, a senior at Purdue Polytechnic Columbus who is completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Technology.
A report prepared for the Surface Transportation Board, completed by CSX, indicated that train traffic may increase from an average of eight trains per day to an average of 22 trains per day. CSX invested $100 million in improvements into the Louisville and Indiana Rail Line. The resulting disruption at the intersection of Indiana 11 and State Road 46 is expected to cause delays in travel in and out of Columbus for an estimated 60,000 residents and visitors each day. EMS services will also be negatively impacted. The development of a status page will now allow users to find alternate routes or make other adjustments.
City officials say that Bowman began work on the notification system in August of 2017 as part of a special class tasked with creation of a train notification system for those in Columbus. With a team of three other students, the group assisted City of Columbus officials with selection of detection cameras and tools that would allow a notification system to work reliably. However, programming work on the status page was not completed by the end of the semester.
Bowman volunteered to stay on with the project through completion, working with both Columbus and Bartholomew County officials to develop a web-based status page that will work on desktop and mobile devices and will not require users to download an app to use it. City officials say that Bowman took on this responsibility in addition to his full-time course work and his work study responsibilities at Cummins. Bowman is slated to remain with the project through early 2019 to make additional adjustments to the status page as necessary.
A network of cameras has been installed by city and county officials to allow for live video feed of key intersections along the train route for use by EMS officials, specifically the intersections at 950 S, 200 S and Indiana 11/ State Road 46. When motion is detected at these intersections, an email alert is sent to the web notification system, triggering the signal to turn from green (All Clear) to red (Train Detected). officials explain that the status page is intended to allow users to choose alternate routes to reach their destinations when a train is detected.
The City of Columbus and Bartholomew County residents have been eagerly awaiting a status page to better inform them of potential delays in their travels, said Mayor Jim Lienhoop. We are thoroughly impressed with Isaiahs work on this project and are excited to share this tool with residents and visitors to allow travel in and out of Columbus to be much smoother and safer. We encourage all to use the status page responsibly while obeying State and local vehicle laws, allowing them to arrive at their destinations safely.
The notification system may be accessed by visiting www.columbusrailroadproject.org.