Improving Safety at Railroad Highway Grade Crossings

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INSTRUCTOR:  Nazir Lalani, P.E., M.ASCE

Course Length: 1.5 Hours

Sponsored by ASCE's Transportation & Development Institute and ASCE Continuing Education. 

The teleconference method allows the audience to see this webinar straight from my office, without having to travel. I have attended many ASCE webinars and find that ASCE knows how to put together an effective webinar.  Anonymous Attendee

Purpose and Background

This webinar will examine recent developments in railroad crossings and how to improve their safety. The webinar will focus on motorized users, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists, who have to cross railroad crossings on a regular basis. The webinar will address the best ways to handle pedestrian and bicycle traffic crossing railroad tracks and the operation of traffic signals impacted by railroad operations. Information from recent publications, the Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook, and a recent conference on railroad corridors, where speakers addressed railroad crossing safety issues, will be shared. Examples will be provided where railroad crossings pose special challenges to traffic on heavily traveled corridors. A reference list will be provided that includes articles, websites, and other study material.

Primary Topics of Discussion

  • The Pros and Cons of current on street light rail operations
  • Safety enhancements to minimize conflicts with high speed trains
  • The impacts of rail  traffic on traffic signal operations
  • Key aspects of addressing the needs of all road users

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to improve safety at railroad highway grade crossings
  • Learn various safety treatments recently introduced at these types of crossings
  • Learn about pedestrians and bicyclists safety at railroad highway grade crossings
  • Review improvements made at some recent projects to address the needs of these road users

Webinar Benefits

  • Gain a better understanding of human factors at rail road crossing operations
  • Learn how to improve safety at railroad crossings
  • Learn ways to address pedestrian and bicycle traffic safety at rail crossings

Intended Audience

  • Transportation engineers/planners
  • Highway designers for all types of facilities
  • Government officials

Webinar Outline

  • Driver behavior at railroad crossings
  • Design parameters for railroad crossings
  • Safety improvements such as quad gates and arresting barriers
  • Placement of median barriers on approaches to railroad crossings
  • Application of queue cutter signals
  • Use of pre-signals at railroad crossings
  • Conducting railroad crossings diagnostics
  • Railroad preemption sequence and timing of traffic signals
  • Recommendations of the NTSB on traffic signal rail road preemptions
  • Sight distance at railroad crossing
  • Pedestrian crossings treatments across train tracks
  • Design of bicycle crossings across train tracks
  • Revisions to the MUTCD