Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety

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Course Overview

Reducing train-vehicle collisions and pedestrian deaths from train accidents is a goal every railroad engineer should try to reach. In this course, you will learn the basic principles of highway-rail crossing safety and how to apply them to new and existing projects to avoid accidents.

Who Should Attend?

  • Railroad and signal engineers 
  • Railroad crossing safety and public projects managers 
  • Railroad safety personnel 
  • Transportation and safety engineers 
  • Local/state/federal and public works personnel 
  • Consulting engineers involved in the design, construction, and operation of highways and highway traffic operations in close proximity to rail lines

Additional Information

The March 2021 offering of this course is being offered in four 4-hour modules in a live online format Monday, March 29th thru Thursday April 1st from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM central time each day. Details on how to access the course will be sent with registration confirmation. No software is required to participate in the online course. The course is accessed via your internet browser.

Course Outline

Introduction The Challenge: Reduce Vehicle-Train Collisions and Pedestrian Deaths

  • History and characterization of rail crossing safety
  • Public funding
  • Current progress

Grade Crossing Traffic Control Devices

  • Types of devices
  • Selection criteria
  • Costs and maintenance
  • Guidelines: FHWA, NCHRP, NCUTCD, and MUTCD

Train Detection and Warning Systems

  • Regulations, standards, NTSB recommendations, and industry practices
  • Basic train detection types
  • Technical advances
  • Issues and complications (at multiple crossings and/or railroad control points)
  • Deciding system types and warning device placements (cantilevers, gates, lengths and placements, additional lights, control cabinets, etc.)

Interconnection of Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Warning Systems and Highway

Traffic Signals

  • Reference documents, guidance and standards, and definitions
  • Railway warning times and APT
  • Preempt traps
  • Interconnect circuits

Grade Separations and Grade Crossing Surfaces

  • When to grade separate
  • Grade separation design considerations
  • Grade crossing design
  • Crossing surface material selection
  • Crossing construction, reconstruction, and maintenance

Crossing Closures and Consolidation Strategies

  • Evaluation and identification of projects
  • Long-range planning
  • Financial incentives
  • Public relations
  • Case study US DOT

National Grade Crossing Inventory Program

  • Role, purpose, and use
  • Mandatory requirements of the

Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008

  • Updating crossing data in the national file
  • Reconciling railroad and state data files with the national file
  • Identifying the riskiest crossings using the

Accident Prediction Model

The Program Roles of State and Local Governments and Railroads

  • Available federal programs and state programs
  • How programs are administered and carried out
  • Project selection criteria
  • Engineering and estimating
  • Contract process

Public Education and Outreach Programs

  • Operation Lifesaver: rail safety education
  • Statistics and results
  • Educational resources
  • Training programs

Quiet Zones

  • FRA regulations
  • Vehicle and pedestrian issues
  • Mitigations and supplementary safety measures
  • Costs, experiences, and future measures to reduce noise and improve safety


"This course was very well presented…Excellent course, with great speakers, wonderful presentations, a good job."
—Brian Mueller, Systems Signal Engineer Regional Transportation District, Denver, Colorado

"My overall rating of the course is…'Excellent;' and will be useful in my job."
—Johnathan Bragg, Grand Lodge Representative Brotherhood of RR Signalman

"A very good course and met my expectations."
—Douglas Tracy, Signal Engineer CONRAIL

Upcoming dates (0)

Take this course when it’s offered next!

Program Director

Dave Peterson

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