BACKGROUND: A variety of approaches and methods have been used by state departments of transportation (DOTs) for assessing safety effectiveness of treatments and technologies at highway-rail grade crossings (HRGCs). These approaches and methods are based on early data and do not consider all operational aspects of HRGCs or recently developed technologies, and there is no widely accepted approach for such assessment. There is a need to develop a framework for assessing safety effectiveness of treatments and technologies at HRGCs that incorporates rational processes and appropriate electronic-based tools to provide a realistic means for assessing safety effectiveness. This framework and tools will help state DOTs personnel in making informed decisions regarding treatments and technologies at HRGCs to reduce incidents and improve safety.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research is to develop a framework for assessing safety effectiveness, in terms of predicted incident severity and frequency, of different treatments and technologies at HRGCs. The framework shall include associated processes and electronic-based tools. Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.
PHASE I: (1) Collect and review relevant domestic and foreign literature, research findings, and information relative to safety effectiveness of treatments and technologies at HRGCs. This information may be obtained from published and unpublished reports, and contacts with public and private organizations. (2) Based on the review performed in Task 1, identify and evaluate the factors required for developing a framework for assessing safety effectiveness of different treatments and technologies at HRGCs. Based on this evaluation, identify those factors that merit further consideration and recommended for further investigation in Phase II and describe how these factors will be used in developing the framework. (3) Based on the evaluation performed in Task 2, prepare an updated, detailed work plan for Phase II that includes an approach for (a) investigating the recommended factors and (b) developing a rational framework for assessing safety effectiveness of treatments and technologies at HRGCs that incorporates appropriate processes and electronic-based tools. (4) Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Tasks 1 through 3. Following review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to the project panel. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until the interim report is approved and the Phase II work plan is authorized by the NCHRP. The decision on proceeding with Phase II will be based on the contractor’s documented justification of the updated work plan.
PHASE II: (5) Execute the Phase II plan approved in Task 5, and develop the framework, including associated processes and electronic-based tools. (6) Illustrate use of the proposed framework and associated tools with examples covering a range of applications (e.g., locations, treatments, and technologies) and discuss how the framework and tools may be used for making decisions regarding treatments and technologies at HRGCs. (7) Prepare a final deliverable that documents the entire research effort. The electronic-based tools together with appropriate documentation and user manuals shall be incorporated in the proposed framework and presented as a stand-alone deliverable.
STATUS: Research in progress.