Safety of Road Users in Light-Rail Transit Environment

Light-rail transit (LRT), which includes modern streetcars, trolleys and heritage trolleys, is one of the fastest growing modes of public transportation in the United States. An increasing number of urban and suburban areas across America are turning to light-rail to solve traffic congestion and air quality problems, improve mobility, and spur economic development. The growth of LRT systems has been driven in part by the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) fixed guideway capital investment program known as “New Starts”. One of the main reasons behind the popularity of LRT systems is the ease of fitting them into existing urban and suburban corridors where they can operate in shared rights-of-way or semiexclusive rights-of-way. To reduce the cost and complexity of construction, most LRT systems have their tracks placed on city streets, in medians, or in separate at-grade rights-of-way with at-grade crossings. Operating light-rail vehicles (LRVs) along these alignments introduces new conflicts and increases the risk of collisions with vulnerable road users (pedestrians, bicyclists and electric scooter riders). Although LRT systems have an excellent overall safety record compared to other modes of surface transportation, collisions involving LRVs and vulnerable road users (VRUs) do occur resulting in death and serious injuries. These accidents adversely affect the public image of the safety of LRT systems and the reputation of transit agencies. Reducing collisions with VRUs has been identified by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as the second item of the “Top Ten Safety Action Items” for improving rail transit safety. An important step in the development and selection of safety treatments is to have a basic understanding of pedestrians, bicyclists, and electric scooter rider’s behavior along LRT alignments and the safety issues encountered. The objective of this study is to provide transit agencies, state DOTs and local governments with resource guide regarding the best practices available for improving the safety of VRUs in LRT environments. This research project has two main objectives: (1) to survey, review and evaluate the existing body of knowledge and the state of practice regarding VRUs safety in LRT environments; and (2) to synthesize this information and package the results into a “Best Practices Resource Guide” and a companion “PowerPoint Training Materials” that can be incorporated in existing rail safety courses and used in making presentations at schools and public events. The developed resource guide and training material should also provide needed information for new LRT projects in engineering and design stages and support the activities of existing LRT agencies to improve VRUs safety.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $130000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Oklahoma State University, Stillwater

    School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Stillwater, OK  United States  74078
  • Principal Investigators:

    Ahmed, Samir

  • Start Date: 20200801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01757487
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 10 2020 3:16PM