The National Academies

NCHRP 17-99 [Anticipated]

Safety Effectiveness Assessment of Advanced Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Improvements

  Project Data
Source: AASHTO Council on Rail Transportation
Funds: $500,000
Staff Responsibility: Velvet Basemera-Fitzpatrick
Fiscal Year: 2021

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected in August 2020. The project statement will be available on this site. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) developed its Accident Prediction and Severity (APS) models for highway-rail grade crossings (HRGCs) in the early 1980s. These models are used in decision support tools provided to federal, state and local authorities for the identification and evaluation of HRGC upgrades, separations and closures. The APS models, and other guidance documents, must be current as they are key in making informed HRGC judgements. This research will bring the APS models up to date, and specifically by addressing three major needs of the current APS models:
• Incorporating the latest incident data.
• Reflecting improvements in analytical methods.
• Including the full range of HRGC treatments and new HRGC technologies.

This research will provide a compressive synthesis of existing and emerging treatments for improving safety at HRGCs. The research will also offer guidance to assist state DOTs in making appropriate decisions for deploying new types of safety technology, and consistent criteria to evaluate and select HRGC projects. This guidance should aid states’ potential in using suitable funding sources for new types of safety technologies that are promising for enhancing HRGC safety, such as the Railway-Highway Crossings (Section 130) Program funds, found in 23 USC 130(e) of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

The first objective of this research is to synthesize current practices and emerging technologies focused on improving safety at HRGCs, develop a Concept of Operations (ConOps) for each technology, develop draft language to include in the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), and provide guidance for state DOTs to select and experiment new technologies that are not included in the MUTCD. The second objective is to update the APS modeling framework, expand the assessment to include new technologies, examine the effectiveness of new HRGC safety treatments, and add support for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles.

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