North Carolina “Sealed Corridor” Phase IV Assessment – Private Crossings
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-12/12
SUBJECT: High-Speed Passenger Rail, Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, Accident Reduction
KEYWORDS: alternative safety measures, education and enforcement, highway-rail intersections, safety, video data, violation reduction, risk assessment, private crossings
ABSTRACT: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Railroad Administration tasked the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to document the success of the safety improvements at private highway-rail grade crossings along the Charlotte to Raleigh portion of the Southeast High-Speed Rail (SEHSR) Corridor. This set of safety improvements, implemented during Phase IV of North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Sealed Corridor project, targeted the private crossings along that segment of the SEHSR corridor. The Sealed Corridor program aimed at improving or consolidating every highway-rail grade crossing, public and private, along the Charlotte to Raleigh rail route. The research on the Sealed Corridor private crossings, conducted from October 2008 to February 2010, assessed the progress made at the 44 crossings between Charlotte and Raleigh that have been treated with improved warning devices or closed from 1990 through 2008. Two approaches were used to describe benefits in terms of lives saved: a fatal crash analysis to derive estimated lives saved and prediction of lives saved based on the reduction of risk at the treated crossings. Both methods estimated that over 1.5 lives have been potentially saved at private crossings as a result of the 44 improvements implemented through 2008. Analysis also shows that the resulting reduction in incidents, as a result of the crossing improvements, is sustainable through 2010, when anticipated exposure and train speeds along the corridor will increase.
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