Grade Crossing Safety: Increasing Public Awareness of the Dangers

Principal Investigator:

Michael Wade, Professor and Director, Kinesiology

Project Summary:

Railroad crossing accidents, although few in number when compared to other types of roadway accidents, greatly impact both those immediately involved as well as the communities in which the accidents occur. Compared with other types of roadway accidents, crossing accidents have the highest severity levels in terms of fatalities and injuries. In 1994, 18 people were killed and over 60 people were injured at Minnesota's grade crossings. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a need for improved traffic devices at railroad crossings and if there is a need for a better railroad safety awareness program. A literature search will be conducted to determine if similar studies have been done in this country or elsewhere and to further identify and refine the problem. An analysis of accident data and crossing data such as geometries, visibility, conspicuity, signing and active warning devices will be conducted to also refine the problem. After the initial review of accident crossing data, focus groups will be conducted to identify the population's perceptions of railroad crossings and collect ideas and recommendations regarding a need for improved traffic control at railroad crossings, and/or a better railroad safety awareness program. Based on the above findings we will formulate questions which can be used in a telephone survey. Individuals from both the metro area and greater Minnesota will be part of the study. The information gained from the telephone survey may be used to develop potential project ideas to improve railroad traffic control devices and/or to develop a safety awareness program.

Sponsor:

Project Details:

  • Start date: 09/1995
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Rail, Safety