Other Reports

Rail-Highway Crossing Safety Action Plan Summary

  • 13
  • Jun
  • 1994
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
OFFICE: RPD
SUBJECT: Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
KEYWORDS: Traffic Law, Rail Safety, Rail Trespass
ABSTRACT: [From the Introduction] Each day, we are reminded of the importance of our efforts to improve highway- rail grade crossing safety and trespass prevention. Highway-rail collisions and trespassing on rail properties are the number one and two leading causes of death in the entire railroad industry, far surpassing employee or passenger fatalities. In 1993, grade-crossing deaths rose by 8.1% over 1992 and trespassing deaths remained high. Specifically, nearly 4,900 collisions occurred between highway users and on-track railroad equipment. More than 600 individuals were killed and over 1,800 were seriously injured in these collisions. These crashes occurred nearly equally at crossings equipped with automatic warning devices (flashing lights and sometimes gates) and at those not equipped. Also in 1993, more than 500 people died while trespassing on railroad rights-of-way. On the United States’ approximately 160,000 miles of rail rights-of-way, there are over 280,000 highway-rail intersections. Approximately 60,000 (21%) of these are equipped with automatic warning devices. The very existence of crossings is a major challenge to growing rail traffic and higher speeds for both passenger and freight rail operations. Our efforts to develop a “seamless” national inter modal transportation network must resolve these challenges. This Action Plan details six major goals and 55 actions, addressing some aspect of crossing safety or trespass prevention. To be successful, the proposed actions will require strong partnerships between local, State and Federal highway and rail officials, law enforcement, the rail and transit industries, Operation Lifesaver and the United States Congress. With this plan as our blueprint, we will work together to increase public awareness to help prevent these needless tragedies.

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