Selecting Safety Improvement Projects for Railroad Grade Crossings on Public Highways: Issues and Opportunities

Compared to other high-income countries, the United States has high rates of roadway death and injury. State/Federal safety improvement programs, including rail-highway crossing programs, remain underfunded in relation to the size of the problem. As a result, rail-highway safety projects need to be selected in a manner that yields the best-possible level of safety improvement. Many states rely heavily on the FRA crossing safety model originally developed in the 1980s. Some of the limitations of this hazard-based approach can be addressed through risk-based project selection techniques. The range of rail-highway safety improvement techniques implemented in the United States is often rather narrow compared to international practices, and some state project selection methodologies lack the technical capability to support newer strategies and low-cost safety improvements. As states consider updates to their selection methodologies, flexibility to accommodate emerging issues such as the safety effects of autonomous and connected vehicles will probably be needed. The Safe System Approach and the Safety Management Systems methodology offer opportunities to accelerate the pace of safety improvement, and there may be opportunities to leverage funding from existing programs to increase the amount invested in rail-highway safety projects.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AHB60 Standing Committee on Highway/Rail Grade Crossings.
  • Authors:
    • Shaw, John W
    • Hans, Zachary
    • Souleyrette, Reginald R
    • Savolainen, Peter T
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2018


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 9p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01663907
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 18-03642
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 22 2018 12:03PM