Technical Reports

Driver Behavior Analysis at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings using Field Operational Test Data—Light Vehicles

  • 20
  • May
  • 2013
AUTHOR: Tashi Ngamdung and Marco daSilva
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-13/28
SUBJECT: Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Warning Systems, Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, Signal and Train Control
KEYWORDS: Driver behavior, highway-rail intersection, grade crossing, accident reduction, video data, violation reduction
ABSTRACT: The U. S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s (RITA) John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), under the direction of the U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Research and Development (R&D), conducted a research study focused on collecting and analyzing data related to driver behavior at or on approach to highway-rail grade crossings. Volpe Center reviewed and coded 4,215 grade crossing events involving light vehicle drivers collected during a recent field operational test of vehicle safety systems. The data collected for each grade crossing included information about drivers’ activities, driver and vehicle performance, driving environment, and vehicle location at or on approach to highway-rail grade crossings. One of the findings of the data analysis was that, on average, drivers were likely to engage in secondary tasks 46.7 percent of the time. Additionally, results showed that drivers failed to look either left or right on approach to passive grade crossings approximately 35 percent of the time. The ultimate objective of this research study is to assess basic driver behavior at highway-rail grade crossings so as to identify potential driver education/awareness strategies that would best mitigate risky driver behavior at grade crossings.

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