Prioritization Procedure for Proposed Road-Rail Grade Separation Projects along Specific Rail Corridors

While safety continues to be a high priority in the development of road-rail grade separation projects, state and local decision makers need additional, robust criteria when prioritizing these projects for funding and construction. This situation is particularly acute along a rail corridor that is experiencing a significant increase in the number of train movements, or where the operating speed or train length has increased. For instance, the increasing use of rail to transport energy products such as crude oil, or the addition of passenger rail operations, has caused train movements to increase dramatically in several regions of the United States. A more comprehensive set of criteria that balance economic and social benefits and costs could facilitate a more thorough analysis for prioritizing grade crossing separation projects along rail corridors experiencing increasing train movements or changing operating conditions. In times of fiscal constraint, there is a need for a more precise, objective way to evaluate the merits of proposed grade separation projects. The objectives of this research are to develop: (1) a prioritization procedure for transportation practitioners to rank road-rail grade separations within specific rail corridors; and (2) a communication toolkit to inform and convey to stakeholders and decision makers the relative objective merits of individual road-rail separation projects within corridors. The prioritization procedure criteria, data sources, and variables for ranking road-rail grade separations, shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) Costs of grade crossing crashes, (2) Impacts of grade crossing delay to truckers, commuters, shippers, railroads, and emergency services (3) Sensitivity to expected land use (4) Economic forecasts (5) Supply chain and logistics variables - Consistency with adopted plans and policies (6) Capital costs (7) Construction impacts on stakeholders (8) Alternative or interim solutions to grade crossing separation (9) Environmental impacts (10) Stakeholder support It is expected that the prioritization procedure shall be applied to case studies that demonstrate, evaluate, and refine the procedure and criteria for use across urban and rural areas along rail corridors.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 25-50

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Performing Organizations:

    Olsson Associates

  • Principal Investigators:

    Berndt, Mark

  • Start Date: 20150928
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180928
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01753845
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 25-50
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Sep 29 2020 2:59PM