Preliminary Analysis of Light Rail Crashes in Denver, Colorado. Implications for Crash Prediction and Hazard Index Models Based on Railroads

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, place - north america, planning - safety/accidents


light rail crashes, Denver, crossings, predictions, safety, accidents


This paper presents a preliminary analysis of light rail crashes at at-grade crossings in Denver, Colorado, based on Regional Transportation District data for 1999 through 2009. Differences in design and operation of at-grade crossings are discussed for light rail versus common carrier railroad (railroad). The differences appear to warrant the development of separate crash prediction and hazard index models because models developed for railroad at-grade crossing operations may not accurately predict the number and severity of crashes at light rail at-grade crossings. In addition, the models developed for railroads do not predict crashes at crossings for some traffic control device types such as traffic signals. The lack of information for crossings controlled by traffic signals in the railroad crash prediction equations is one reason why equations specific to light rail may need to be developed. This study identifies patterns in light rail crossing crash data that warrant further investigation and support the development of crash prediction models and hazard index equations specific to light rail at-grade crossing configurations and operations.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.