Driver Behavior at Highway-Railroad Grade Crossings: A Literature Review from 1990-2006
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-08/03
KEYWORDS: Driver behavior, highway-rail grade crossing, traffic control devices, grade crossing safety, active crossings, passive crossings
Accidents at grade crossings continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in the railroad industry. A large proportion of these accidents are the result of driver error. The purpose of this report is to review research that addresses driver behavior at grade crossings to better understand the decisions and actions drivers make so that countermeasures can be developed to discourage dangerous driving behavior. This report is intended to update a 1990 literature review titled, Driver Behavior at Rail-Highway Crossings, by Lerner, Ratte, and Walker, that provided a comprehensive examination of factors contributing to driver noncompliance at grade crossings. This report focuses on grade crossing research conducted since 1990 and extends the review by Lerner, et al. by examining the grade crossing problem in the context of the general driving task. This literature review is organized using the framework of a sociotechnical model such that driver behavior is examined not as individual elements but as a system. Recommendations for additional research are also identified.