Title

PHOTO ENFORCEMENT AT HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSINGS IN THE UNITED STATES: JULY 2000-JULY 2001

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2002

Subject Area

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

Keywords

United States, Traffic violations, Traffic law enforcement, Risk taking, Railroad grade crossings, Photo enforcement, Motor vehicle operators, Level crossings, Human behavior, Highway railroad grade crossings, Highway rail intersections, Grade crossings, Drivers, Cameras, Behaviour, Behavior

Abstract

Nearly 50% of U.S. highway-rail crossing accidents occur at public crossings equipped with automated warning devices, of which 78% are passive and 22% have active warning systems. This is a disproportionate amount of accidents occurring at active sites. The use of photo enforcement at public highway-rail grade crossings became a focal point for study. This technology observes and records driver and pedestrian behavior, as driver behavior is at the root of the crossing safety problem. Judicial concerns and public perception and support levels are also issues of concern. Photo enforcement is an option to assist law enforcement to increase safety at public crossings. While some privacy issues remain, this system can be a reliable, cost-effective way to discourage unsafe driver behavior. Today, 75 countries use traffic cameras. Internationally, photo enforcement has been in use for more than 20 years. Experience has shown that visible, high-profile law-enforcement programs like photo enforcement reduce the number of highway-rail crossing violations. Photo enforcement at six highway-rail crossings across the United States showed positive results in reducing violations. The results of investigations at the six sites indicated a reduction of violations in the range of 34% to 92%. Implementing the technology to detect a violator is one aspect of reducing violations; persuading police and civil officials to adapt enforcement programs is another.