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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

Effects of In-Pavement Lights on Driver Compliance with Grade Crossing Safety Equipment

Document Series
Technical Reports
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
Subject Accident Reduction, Grade Crossing Technology, Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Warning Systems, Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
Highway-rail, grade crossing, pedestrian behavior, trespass, enhancement, safety, in-pavement lights, violations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, under the direction of DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Office of Research, Development and Technology, evaluated the effectiveness of in-pavement lights in improving driver compliance with grade crossing safety signals. In-pavement lights were installed at a grade crossing in Elk City, Oklahoma. This crossing had flashing lights but not gates. Data was collected for 6 months before and after the lights were installed. Results indicated a slight reduction in violations occurring in excess of 5 seconds after the signals were activated, from an average of 0.314 violations per activation before the lights were installed, to 0.288 after the lights were installed. Additionally, post-train violations also slightly declined, from 81.20 percent of lead vehicles in each lane crossing before the signals were deactivated to 75.45 percent. Though these results seem to indicate that this safety enhancement is somewhat effective in improving driver compliance with the grade crossing signals, note that this study only provides results from one unique crossing. Additional field testing is necessary before recommendations for wider use can be made.

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Last updated: Friday, May 17, 2019