Collisions at highway-railroad grade crossings have posed a significant safety problem. To reduce the number of these collisions at highway-railroad grade crossings where train visibility is a contributing factor, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is investigating measures to enhance the visibility of trains with the use of retroreflectors on freight cars. A four-phase research program was conducted to determine the feasibility of reflectorization as a train conspicuity device. A literature review provided past and current transportation experiences on the use of retroreflectors. A demonstration test was conducted to establish the durability of a newly developed (microprismatic) material, and to create a retroreflective pattern to test for the next phase of research. A nationwide in-service test was conducted to measure the microprismatic retroreflectors' performance, accident reduction potential, and costs. A human factors test was conducted to evaluate the detectability and recognition of several retroreflective designs. Results from this research indicate that a uniform, recognizable pattern of reflectorized material can facilitate recognition of a freight car. The durability of the microprismatic material tested indicates that adequate intensity levels can be sustained up to 10 years with maintenance.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

    55 Broadway
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Office of Research and Development, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Carroll, A A
    • Multer, J
    • Williams, D
    • Yaffee, M A
  • Publication Date: 1999-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 190 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00765984
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-VNTSC-FRA-97-2,, DOT/FRA/ORD-98/11,, Final Report
  • Contract Numbers: R9026/RR997
  • Files: NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 22 1999 12:00AM