Title

ASSESSMENT AND IMPROVEMENT OF SAFETY AT FINNISH RAILWAY-ROAD GRADE CROSSINGS

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2002

Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, planning - safety/accidents, economics - appraisal/evaluation, mode - rail

Keywords

Vertical profile, Vehicle restrictions, Vegetation control, Trucks, Train speed limits, Traffic safety, Tractor trailer combinations, Time duration, Simulation, Road freight vehicles, Railroad grade crossings, Lorries, Level crossings, Improvements, Highway railroad grade crossings, Highway rail intersections, Heavy goods vehicles, Gradient (Roads), Grade crossings, Finland, Evaluation and assessment, Computer simulation, Cargo vehicles, Automobiles

Abstract

A method for determining whether the safety of a railway-road grade crossing is reasonable was assessed by examining the results of its application to 360 Finnish grade crossings. Safety was considered reasonable if the conditions at the grade crossing were such that road users have available all the information necessary for safe crossing. At passive grade crossings, this condition is usually met when a road vehicle can cross the railway in less time than it takes for a train to arrive at the crossing from the farthest point at which the road user can see it. In the application of the method, crossing times for a car, a truck, and a trailer truck were calculated with an advanced vehicle-movement simulation model, taking into account the gradient of the road. These times were frequently too short. In such cases, measures for quick implementation were suggested. Most frequently these measures concerned clearing of sight-restricting vegetation, improving the vertical profile of the road, banning long vehicles from using the grade crossing, and reducing the speed limit of trains. Vehicle type-specific bans and reduced speed limits can usually be removed later if the crossing is equipped with barriers.