This paper presents an automatic method for detecting vertical track irregularities on tramway operation using acceleration measurements on trams. For monitoring of tramway tracks, an unconventional measurement setup is developed, which records the data of 3-axes wireless accelerometers mounted on wheel discs. Accelerations are processed to obtain the vertical track irregularities to determine whether the track needs to be repaired. The automatic detection algorithm is based on time–frequency distribution analysis and determines the defect locations. Admissible limits (thresholds) are given for detecting moderate and severe defects using statistical analysis. The method was validated on frequented tram lines in Budapest and accurately detected severe defects with a hit rate of 100%, with no false alarms. The methodology is also sensitive to moderate and small rail surface defects at the low operational speed.
- tramway track condition monitoring
- time-frequency signal processing
- wheel-rail interaction
- wavelet transform