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.
The Effect of Installation Location on Railroad Horn Sound Levels
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-03/02 KEYWORDS: Railroad grade crossings; Sound level; Locomotives; Acoustic measurement; Noise measurement; Noise control ; Locomotive sounds; Audible warning devices; Horns; Railroad safety ABSTRACT: Many comments have been received as a result of the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) issuance of a Proposed Rule for the Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings. A large group of comments were received on a particular provision within the rule, stating that the sound level generated by the horn, when measured at the side of the locomotive, shall not exceed the sound level measured in front of the locomotive. In the late 1980’s it became the de facto standard to install horns on the top/center portion of the locomotive. This was done in an attempt to reduce the noise exposure for the locomotive cab occupants. However, the result was that measured sound levels off to the side of the locomotive were often higher than levels in front of the locomotive. Consequently, this provision in the FRA’s Proposed Rule may force railroad operators to relocate many installed horns. While supporting comments were made by many municipalities and individuals, negative comments were also received on this provision. In order to document precisely the effect of horn placement on the locomotive, a series of tests were conducted. These tests measured the sound level around the locomotive for five types of locomotive horns, mounted in four locations on two locomotives. By measuring and documenting the variation in sound level around the horn and locomotive in a consistent manner, the differences in sound level output as a function of distance and the differences in noise exposure levels can be assessed.