Effects of Active Warning Reliability on Motorist Compliance at Highway-Railroad Grade Crossings. Research Results

Understanding why motorists do not comply with signals at active grade crossings will aid the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to develop safety improvements at highway-rail grade crossings. This research is focused on willful noncompliance when a motorist consciously and deliberately ignores activated warning signals and drives around the lowered gates. Previous research suggests that willful noncompliance is caused by the perception that the warning signal is unreliable. This perception may be the consequence of two different types of failures: a false activation, when a warning signal is activated but no train is at the crossing; or a miss, which is a failure of the warning signal to activate when a train approaches. Two experiments were conducted to examine whether motorists were able to detect changes in warning device reliability, and if so, what was the effect on their subsequent decisions. Signal detection theory was applied to describe the decisions made.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • See also Final Report, PB2009-111075.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Federal Railroad Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Publication Date: 2009-3


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: 4p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01142219
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FRA-RR-09-04
  • Files: NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 2 2009 1:13PM