Security and Safety

FRA urges states to verify traffic lights connected to crossings function correctly

Posted on February 18, 2016

Casey Jones
Casey Jones

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) called on state departments of transportation to verify that railroad crossing warning systems interconnected to traffic lights function properly. The agency also urged states to add event recorders to traffic lights connected to railroad crossing systems so information obtained during inspections can be used to improve safety.

Across the U.S., there are nearly 5,000 railroad crossings interconnected with traffic lights. 

“Reducing fatalities at railroad crossings is an achievable goal. But we can only achieve it if federal, state and local governments work together with railroads to verify that these crossings connected to traffic lights work properly,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“I have made improving railroad crossing safety a top priority of mine because I know that we can and must do better,” FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg wrote in a letter to the heads of state departments of transportation across the country. “But the Federal Railroad Administration cannot solve this problem on its own. Unless we work closely with state and local officials, law enforcement, railroads and transportation officials, and other stakeholders, we will not have the impact we are striving for and we will not save as many lives. But working together, I know we can do more to prevent these incidents.”

While railroads are required to inspect lights and gates at railroad crossings monthly, FRA has urged states before — and is doing again in a letter with an attached safety advisory — to have traffic experts periodically join railroads on those inspections. During those joint inspections, traffic experts and railroads should verify that the traffic lights and crossing lights are properly sequenced and enough time is provided for traffic to clear from a nearby intersection before a train enters a crossing.

“Simply put: We strongly recommend that state and local transportation officials, together with railroad officials, visit crossings in their region and monitor and test crossing signals and adjacent traffic signals to ensure that the signals are synced and operating properly,” Feinberg wrote.

Last year, FRA launched a new, comprehensive campaign to reverse the recent uptick in railroad crossing fatalities. The campaign includes partnering with Google and other tech companies to use FRA data that pinpoints the country’s 200,000 railroad crossings to add visual and audio alerts to map applications. FRA has also worked with local police to increase enforcement around railroad crossings.

In 2010, the FRA reminded states across the country in a safety advisory of the importance of ensuring that railroad crossing systems and traffic signal systems are coordinated with each other and work properly to control traffic flow at and near railroad crossings. Safety has always been paramount since FRA’s establishment in 1966. While the number of incidents, deaths and injuries has declined since then, FRA remains committed to reducing the annual number of crossing fatalities to zero.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

FTA threatens to withhold funds if WMATA restores late-night services

Local officials are leading an effort to restore service hours the agency cut beginning with its SafeTrack rebuilding effort in 2016.

All required railroads met statutory deadline, alt. schedule for PTC

Notably, Quarter Four data also show PTC systems are in operation on almost 46,000 of the nearly 58,000 route mile.

FHWA awards $10M to 7 states to test new ways to fund highways

The program’s goal is to allow states to test user-based alternatives to support the Highway Trust Fund.

Metro-North Railroad lands grant to set up PTC test lab

Will help improve the performance of PTC radio spectrum utilization required to make PTC operational on the Northeast Corridor.

Metrolinx sharing smart card data without warrant despite concerns

In 22 instances related to law enforcement investigations or suspected offenses the agency divulged card users’ information.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation