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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 7, 2011

Crossing Paths: Trend Analysis and Policy Review of Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety

  • Charles T. Schartung , Thierry Lesales , R. Josh Human and David M. Simpson

This national-level study of highway-rail crossings and grade-crossing accidents finds significant changes over the last 15 years. Findings include a sizable increase in the number of open highway-rail crossings; a continued decrease in the number of accidents, deaths and injuries at grade crossings since 1996, but an increase in injury and fatality rates; higher number of accidents at gated crossings, though the accident-to-crossing ratio at gated crossings remain low; an overall increase in the rate of accidents involving HAZMAT-carrying vehicles, and a continued high percentage of Amtrak passenger trains involved in accidents and an increase in Amtrak injury and fatality rates. Also, while the federal government continues to take on considerably more regulation and costs, it does so in a difficult policy environment with varying state-level regulation and no clear consensus on the best technology to use given cost considerations. We put forward a two-prong approach: the vertical integration of highway-rail oversight with the Federal government playing a coordinative role and “hotspot” remediation of high-risk crossings.

Published Online: 2011-10-7

©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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