Improving Railroad Grade Crossing Safety: Positioning, Planning, and Operation of Emergency Response Resources and Coordination Between Jurisdictions

Principal Investigator:

Yanfeng Ouyang, Associate Professor, N/A

Project Summary:

Rail-related incidents, particularly those involving hazardous materials, can cause severe consequences and pose significant threats to safety, public health, and the environment. Rail safety is a significant issue in Midwestern states such as Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. This project aims at strategically positioning and allocating emergency responders and resources that may be impacted by rail incidents. The research is developing mathematical models and techniques to enable systematic analysis of the emergency response system associated with railroad incidents, in order to, for example, strategically position and allocate emergency responders and resources in anticipation of potential accidents along spatially distributed railroad networks. The research is also considering the added complexity due to vulnerability of the emergency response system itself, such as the risk of disruptions to the transportation network for first responders (e.g., blockage of railroad crossings). The outcomes from these tasks will provide fundamental understanding, operational guidelines, and practical tools to policymakers, such as federal and state agencies, to induce socio-economically favorable systems that support safe and efficient railroad industry operations.

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