THE BENEFITS AND COSTS OF A PROGRAM TO REFLECTORIZE THE U.S. FLEET OF RAILROAD ROLLING STOCK

The paper examines the effectiveness of retroreflectors on the sides of railroad rolling stock as a means of reducing highway-railroad grade crossing accidents and estimates the benefits and costs of reflectorizing the U.S. fleet of railroad cars. Factors affecting the amount of reflected light received by a driver including reflector characteristics, vehicle-reflector positioning, reflector cleanliness, headlight cleanliness and beam usage, windshield transmittance, and atmospheric conditions were analyzed and expected reflector illuminance levels were predicted. Under conditions expected in railroad operation, the analysis indicates that 6" square delineators of hi-intensity grade reflective sheeting will permit detection distances sufficient for safe stopping in most highway situations even under low beam headlight illumination. Benefits were estimated from 1975 Federal Railroad Administration accident data. Accidents were categorized into four groups based upon the speeds of the train and motor vehicles and the collision point on the train. Reflector effectiveness for each of these groups was estimated considering the type of crossing warning device, daylight accident rates, weather conditions, presence of obstructions, human factors associated with nighttime driving, and train/motor vehicle speeds. The costs of a reflectorization program were estimated and a cost-effective analysis was performed to assess the impact of visibility at grade crossings on annual benefits since no reliable information is available on this important factor.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • P.O. 8223.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Bucknell University

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Lewisburg, PA  USA  17837
  • Authors:
    • McGinnis, R G
  • Publication Date: 1979-1

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 80 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00315118
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FRA-OPPD-79-12 Final Rpt.
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 27 1980 12:00AM