Rail crossing crashes have declined in the past 30 years, both nationally and in California. This is largely attributed to the closing of a large number of crossings as well as the deployment of a wide range of countermeasures, including signal systems, gating and grade separation programs. However, the number of crashes and subsequent injuries and deaths is still unacceptably high. Rail crossings provide different levels of warnings from four-quadrant gates down to stop signs. To understand how the state of California can best utilize state and federal funding available through SAFETEA-LU for making the state’s 7,719 at-grade rail-highway crossings safer, this report presents an analysis of the effectiveness of different types of railroad crossing warning devices with a cost-benefit comparison.
April 1, 2007