The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) was created by the Department ofTransportation Act of 1966. It is one of ten agencies within the U.S. Department ofTransportation concerned with intermodal transportation. FRA promotes safe,environmentally sound, successful railroad transportation to meet the needs of all customers today and tomorrow.
FRA's Office of Railroad Safety promotes and regulates safety throughout the Nation's railroad industry. The office executes its regulatory and inspection responsibilities through a diverse staff of railroad safety experts.
The Federal Railroad Administration is responsible for working with stakeholders to develop cohesive goals and policies for maintaining and improving the U.S. freight and passenger rail networks. This section covers various efforts across America and the world in helping to deliver safe, reliable, and efficient rail transportation.
FRA Research & Development (R&D) projects contribute to the FRA's safety regulatory processes, to railroad suppliers, to railroads involved in the transportation of freight, intercity passengers, commuters, and to railroad employees and their labor organizations.
In this section, we provide descriptions and comprehensive, official sources for FRA's regulations (also called rules), selected legislation, as well as policy and guidance documents. Additionally, you will find current topics of high interest or significant impact to Congress, railroads, employees, labor, public interest groups and other stakeholders.
FRA supports passenger and freight railroading through a variety of competitive grant, dedicated grant, and loan programs to develop safety improvements, relieve congestion, and encourage the expansion and upgrade of passenger and freight rail infrastructure and services. FRA also provides training and technical assistance to grantees and stakeholders.
Determination of a Sound Level for Railroad Horn Regulatory Compliance
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-03/28 SUBJECT: Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, USDOT National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory KEYWORDS: Train Horn Rule and Quiet Zones ABSTRACT: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has undertaken a rulemaking process to address the use of locomotive horns at public highway-railroad grade crossings . This rule includes a provision to regulate the sound level output of railroad horns. This letter report supports the rulemaking by describing the process used to determine a railroad horn output sound level required for motorist detection. This sound level is defined as the sound level at which there is a 95% likelihood that a person with normal hearing will hear (detect) an average train horn at the instant in time at which detection must occur to avoid a collision. Generally, detection is based on the relative strength of the signal in the motorist’s ambient noise environment.
The sound level is tied to an estimate of an average maximum motor vehicle speed and an average maximum locomotive speed. Locomotive horn sound level data measured by the Volpe Center Acoustics Facility at the Transportation Test Center (TTC) in April 2001, along with automotive insertion loss and interior noise data measured and documented by the Volpe Center in earlier research  provide the basis for the determination of the likelihood of motorist detection.