Technical Reports

Effect of Dynamic Envelope Pavement Markings on Vehicle Driver Behavior at a Highway-Rail Grade Crossing

  • 04
  • Apr
  • 2014
AUTHOR: Scott H Gabree, Ph.D., Stephanie Chase Ph.D., and Marco daSilva
SUBJECT: Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Warning Systems, Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, Signal and Train Control
KEYWORDS: highway-rail, grade crossing, driver behavior, violations, enhancement, safety, signage, pavement markings, dynamic envelope
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 to evaluate the effectiveness of roadway pavement markings placed within the dynamic envelope, the region between and immediately adjacent to the tracks at a highway-rail grade crossing, and new corresponding signage at the Commercial Boulevard grade crossing in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The goal of the added markings and signage is to reduce the number of vehicles that come to a stop within the dynamic envelope, a violation of most applicable State highway traffic laws, thus reducing the possibility that a vehicle is present on the tracks when a train approaches. Results indicate that the addition of the dynamic envelope pavement markings and modified signage reduced the number of vehicles that stopped within the dynamic envelope zone and increased the number of vehicles that stopped properly—safely behind the stop line. Though these results seem to indicate that dynamic envelope pavement markings and signage may be an effective way to increase safe behavior, these safety enhancements have only been studied at one crossing. Additional field testing is necessary before recommendations for wider use can be made.