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Human Behavior at Railroad Grade Crossings

[+] Author Affiliations
Sampath Kadiyala, Phani Gubbala, Steven D. Schrock

University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Paper No. JRC2016-5786, pp. V001T06A014; 6 pages
  • 2016 Joint Rail Conference
  • 2016 Joint Rail Conference
  • Columbia, South Carolina, USA, April 12–15, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4967-5
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


A comprehensive study is needed to address the human behavior at railroad grade crossings. Human behavior at different signs changes and it may lead to crashes. No guidance is provided in the recommendations provided by Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices where and when different type of signs and different combination of signs are appropriate. Crashes occur mostly when the drivers try to go through the gate or around the gate when a train is approaching. Drivers come to a complete stop at stop signs and then proceed only if a train is not coming, this may lead to a crash when they cannot accelerate in time to cross the tracks. Yield sign may have better results in this case. Cross-buck signs are same as the yield sign where drivers should slow down, look for the train and then proceed. However, people may tend to proceed without yielding as it is not as common of a sign. Hence we can say driver behavior at specific sign is important for the recommendation or the guideline to install a sign. Adopting a common sign at all grade crossings could provide enhanced consistency and reduce crashes. A literature review was done on human behavior at grade crossings and the crash rate at different types of signs. Driver behavior at the time of the crash for 15 states was studied from the Federal Railroad Administration data by reviewing detailed reasons for every crash. Driver behavior at different types of signs at the time of each crash was studied from the reviewed data and the literature review. Driver behavior at different signs was summarized.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Railroads



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