Research Reports

Effectiveness of marketing campaigns for grade crossing safety

Principal Investigator:

Stirling Stackhouse

January 1998

Report no. MnDOT 1998-02

Projects: Grade Crossing Safety: Increasing Public Awareness of the Dangers

Topics: Modes, Safety

This project examined grade crossing safety and human factors through a variety of research methods: focus groups, a telephone survey, a literature review, and an analysis based on a new approach by Neil Lerner. Learner notes that drivers should not be treated as reckless, inattentive speeders. Instead, they should be considered decision makers who use information of limited quantity and quality against a background of knowledge shaped primarily by their experience of trains rarely appearing when they cross. Researchers found no evidence that additional education programs or public awareness campaigns had any lasting effect on the frequency of grade crossing accidents. Researchers also found no evidence suggesting that bigger or brighter or other modifications of traditional signs or signals led to favorable changes in drivers' behaviors at grade crossings. The report concludes that using available sensor-processor-message display technology, configured in a way to promote improved driver decision making, offers the potential for grade crossing accident reduction. Researchers recommend additional studies to investigate this potential for grade crossing accident reduction.

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