The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SA-59 [Active (Synthesis)]

Electronic Surveillance of Railroad-Highway Crossings for Collison Avoidance, State of the Practice
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/29/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: AAAJ LLC
Principal Investigator: Amiy Varma
Fiscal Year: 2022

Project Scope



While the highway-rail grade crossing collision rate has fallen steadily since 1980, opportunities remain to further improve grade crossing safety through a mix of engineering, education and enforcement of applicable traffic laws. Electronic surveillance through rail crossing cameras has been increasingly employed to monitor grade crossings. Information gained from analysis of the surveillance data can then enhance engineering, education and enforcement efforts.


Synthesis Objective:


The objective of this study is to document current practices and lessons learned from rail service providers regarding the successes and failures of rail crossing camera programs. The synthesis will also touch on potential future advancements in rail crossing surveillance.

Information to be Gathered (Not an exhaustive list):


       Data collection and analysis methodologies

       System components and configuration

       Capital and operating Costs

       Challenges and constraints (legal, institutional, technological)

       Measures of effectiveness


How the Information Will be Gathered:


       a literature review (e.g. agency reports, peer reviewed journal articles, web articles, agency websites) that will include description of the technologies available);

       a survey on a broad range of North American transit agencies (diverse in terms of   geography, socioeconomics, size, and all types of vehicles in transit revenue service) that utilize rail crossing cameras; and,

       Up to five case examples that will gather information on the practices, challenges
and successes.

       Gaps in knowledge and research needs will also be identified. 

       International examples should be included.

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: October 3, 2022
Teleconference with Consultant: December 2022
Second Panel: July 2023

Topic Panel 

Melvin Clark, Hatch LTK

Tamekia Graham, National Railroad Passenger Corportation (Amtrak)

Amin Keramati, Widener University

Richard Scott, BNSF Railway

Justin Vonashek, MTA Metro North Railroad

Jeffery Warner, Texas A&M Transportation Institute

David Wilcock, VHB

Kurt Wilkinson, ADS Systems Safety LLC

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