Fort Collins couple builds Train Alert system to help reduce traffic backups

Read the full article here: www.reporterherald.com. Excerpted below.

A camera mounted on the side of their house and a homemade computer program are the nuts and bolts behind the service, called Train Alert, which launched its first version Dec. 8.

Train Alert automatically sends out tweets and web alerts to subscribers with estimated times an oncoming train will arrive at major street crossings in Loveland and Fort Collins.

All elements of the Train Alert system are homemade and low-cost, the couple said. Keeping the cost low was “a fun challenge,” Kathy Haselmaier said.

Jim Haselmaier, who has some background in engineering and software development, used open-source image analysis software and a program he wrote himself in the programming language Python to create the train monitor. The image analysis “routines,” which he obtained from an online library called Open CV, do “some basic but astonishingly cool tasks,” Haselmaier said.

 

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