Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety at Grade Crossings – Scope

(Center Identification Number: 79060-02-C)

Principal Investigators
Dr. Paul Metaxatos
Dr. P.S. Sriraj

Project Scope
Federal reporting shows a relatively constant number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities at highway-rail and pathway-rail grade crossings over the past ten years. This is in contrast to a marked decrease in train-vehicle collisions at highway-rail crossings. While engineering solutions and education and enforcements initiatives have been proposed and implemented, little is known as to their effectiveness to mitigate such incidents. This study will extend on the work done regarding safety at rail grade crossings, and non-motorized users’ behavior and attitudes toward safety at such crossings. The study will focus on urban settings and corridors as opposed to the predominantly suburban nature of the earlier study conducted by the principal researchers.

The objective of this research is to determine best practices for providing effective warnings to non-motorized users of highway-rail and pathway-rail grade crossings that (1) inform the user of the presence of a crossing, and (2) inform the user to take appropriate action to prevent a collision.

The focus of the research will be on the behavior of pedestrians, who use various rail crossings around Northeastern Illinois, to understand their experiences at these crossings. The proposed research will evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of existing signs, markings, and/or flashing lights in use at highway-rail and pathway-rail grade crossings. This research includes designated walkways/bikeways such as city sidewalks, non-designated walkways/bikeways such as roadway shoulders, and passenger/transit station crossings.

As for the logistics of the survey, a team of survey research experts from the Survey Research Laboratory at UIC will be at either the station platform or near the crossing and request a pedestrian/bicyclist to participate in the survey. They will be asked the questions and the responses will be coded in the survey sheet by the administrator.

Tasks/ Deliverables

  1. Literature review
  2. Identification of hot spots to be used for survey locations
  3. Survey of non-motorized users – analysis of stated pedestrian behavior
  4. Video surveillance of non-motorized users – analysis of observed pedestrian behavior

Project Schedule
July 1, 2014 to February 29, 2016

Project Budget
Total Project Cost     $58,383


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