System-Wide Implementation of Rail Right-of-Way Incursion Treatments

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), under the direction of the DOT Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Research, Development and Technology (RD&T), conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of engineering treatments to deter vehicles from turning onto a rail right-of-way (ROW) at highway-rail grade crossings. The goal of the treatments is to reduce the number of vehicles that mistakenly enter a ROW, thus reducing the possibility of an incident with a train. From 2016 through 2018, the Volpe Center partnered with SunRail to develop, install, and evaluate promising vehicle ROW incursion prevention engineering treatments. Following this demonstration project, in early 2018 the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) announced the LIRR Forward plan, which included the implementation of system-wide, high-visibility safety delineators and striping. This system-wide initiative was an effort to decrease the number of vehicle ROW incursions, which delayed 417 trains on the LIRR system in 2017. Additionally, LIRR initiated a pilot project with Waze (a Google product) to include safety warnings to drivers using its app at 20 crossings. Results indicated that those treatments had a significant positive effect on reducing ROW incursions by motor vehicles. The number of incidents involving trains striking vehicles on the tracks was reduced from two over the 1-year period before the treatments’ implementation to zero over the 1-year period after implementation. Additionally, the number of reports of vehicles on tracks was reduced by over 85 percent during the evaluation period. Also, the number of trains delayed was reduced by 86 percent, and the total train delay time decreased by about 89 percent over the evaluation period.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 4p
  • Serial:
    • Research Results
    • Issue Number: RR 19-20
    • Publisher: Federal Railroad Administration
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01720286
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: Oct 23 2019 4:26PM