Technical Reports

Characteristics of Trespassing Incidents in the United States (2012-2014)

  • 23
  • Jul
  • 2018
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
SUBJECT: Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
KEYWORDS: Suicide, trespass, railroad, countermeasure, fatalities, grade crossing
ABSTRACT: : Trespassing is the leading cause of rail-related fatalities in the United States. A large proportion of these trespasser fatalities are from intentional acts (i.e., suicides). The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) has been tasked by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to examine trespasser and suicide incident data on railroad rights-of-way to provide a better understanding of the contributory factors involved in these incidents and provide recommendations of potential mitigation strategies. This document provides a baseline measure of FRA trespassing and suicide incident data from 2012 through 2014. Findings illustrate a number of environmental and individual factors that are associated with each incident, such as location (region, state, and right-of-way vs. grade crossing), time (season, month, day of the week, time of day), and characteristics of the individual (age, gender, physical act that immediately preceded the incident). Each of these factors is analyzed in the hope that they may give predictive value in the future and a better understanding of the best ways to mitigate trespasser incidents on rail.