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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Effect of an Active Another Train Coming Warning System on Pedestrian Behavior at a Highway-Rail Grade Crossing

Document Series
Technical Reports
Scott H. Gabree, Ph.D. and Marco daSilva
Report Number
Subject Grade Crossing Pedestrian Safety, Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Warning Systems, Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, Human Factors, Signal and Train Control
highway-rail, grade crossing, pedestrian behavior; second train, violations, enhancement, safety, Train Activations

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) was interested in evaluating a type of grade crossing safety enhancement which alerts pedestrians at the crossing to the presence of a second train. The system chosen for this analysis, known as an Another Train Coming Warning System (ATCWS), consists of signage and an accompanying aural alert which is activated by the presence of multiple trains during gate activation. The ATCWS was installed at a crossing in Garfield, NJ, to assess the impacts of such a warning system on pedestrian behaviors during gate activations with multiple trains. Pedestrian violations were therefore tracked before and after the installation of the ATCWS. No difference was found in the number of violators during a second train activation before and after the installation of the ATCWS. However, small sample sizes and extreme weather during the data collection period indicate that further testing is necessary before strong conclusions about the effects of an ATCWS can be reached.

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Last updated: Wednesday, July 16, 2014