Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - traffic signals, planning - safety/accidents, planning - safety/accidents, mode - rail, mode - bike


Yellow interval (Traffic signal cycle), Warning time, Vehicle characteristics, U.S. Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Federal Highway Administration, Traffic signal priority systems, Traffic signal preemption, Traffic accidents, Terminology, Safety measures, Safety, Recommendations, Railroad grade crossings, Public safety, Preemption (Traffic signals), Level crossings, Inspection, Highway railroad grade crossings, Highway rail intersections, Highway accidents, Grade crossings (Highways), Grade crossings, Grade crossing signals, Grade crossing safety, Grade crossing protection systems, Grade crossing accidents, Definitions, At grade intersections, Amber phase, Active grade crossing warning systems


In the aftermath of the collision involving a school bus and commuter train in Fox River Grove, Illinois, in October 1995, a U.S. Department of Transportation task force proposed that the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Railroad Administration convene a Technical Working Group (TWG) to "review existing standards and guidelines and develop new ones, if appropriate, on several grade crossing safety issues." This article summarizes the TWG accomplishments and recommendations related to preemption and warning time, including terminology, interconnected signals, types of preemption, presignals, vehicle storage, design vehicle, joint inspections, and minimum warning time. It is concluded that by adopting and using the terminology developed by the TWG and opening lines of communication between highway and railroad practitioners, improvements in safety can be achieved at highway intersections near railroad grade crossings.