Closing the Gate on Rail Crossing Crashes: An Evaluation on Where Best to Intervene

This article examines how best to prevent rail crossing crashes based on research by the University of California at Berkeley’s Traffic Safety Center. Nearly 600 crashes occurred between 2000 and 2004 in California, and 73 percent occurred at crossings equipped with gates. Twenty-one percent involved vehicles colliding with moving trains. The researchers conclude that the most effective and cost–efficient ways to prevent these crashes are through the use of long-arm gates, which extend across 3/4 of the roadway and thereby prevent drivers from driving around the arms. Similarly, median separators, a curbed area with reflectorized tubes, prohibit “drive-arounds. The article also describes the Leibowitz Hypothesis, which suggests that larger objects appear to move more slowly than smaller objects, which may explain why drivers ignore warning signs, gates, and flashing lights in order to “beat” the train.

  • Authors:
    • Cosgrove, Christine
  • Publication Date: 2006


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044783
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 21 2007 4:23PM