Title

DRIVER BEHAVIOR AT VEHICLE ARRESTING BARRIERS: COMPLIANCE AND VIOLATIONS DURING THE FIRST YEAR AT THE MCLEAN SITE

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2001

Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, ridership - drivers, ridership - behaviour, mode - rail

Keywords

Vehicle arresting barriers, Traffic violations, Traffic control, Risk taking, Railroad grade crossings, Railroad corridors, Motor vehicle operators, Level crossings, Illinois, Human behavior, Highway railroad grade crossings, Highway rail intersections, Grade crossings, Drivers, Compliance, Behaviour, Behavior, Barriers (Roads)

Abstract

Compliance and violation behavior of drivers at one of three vehicle arresting barriers (VABs) in Illinois is presented. VABs are traffic control and safety devices that function as an impenetrable barrier to highway vehicles at railroad grade crossings on high-speed passenger rail corridors. Driver behavior on approach and at the VABs is analyzed to determine compliance and violation behaviors regarding this new device and related signage and signals. During 1999, the first year of operation, the VABs were in operation less than 50% of their scheduled time. This diminished the expected data and definable periods for study of driver behavior. Only one site had sufficient data to initiate a qualitative analysis of compliance and violation rates. The early findings suggest that drivers showed less risk-taking behavior during the initial period of operation and that compliance levels were slightly better than those of other innovative highway-rail safety devices studied in recent years. However, over time, the lengthy advanced flashing light warning time, inconsistent and problematic operating profile, and general driver familiarity appear to have led to system credibility and driver compliance issues with the barrier system.