Highway Traffic Signal Warrant For Intersections Near Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

At some stop-controlled intersections near highway-rail grade crossings, the distance from the stop line to the track is shorter than the length of a large vehicle. Insufficient sight distance may preclude waiting on the far side of the grade crossing before entering the intersection. A traffic signal that can be preempted by a train is a possible treatment but many of these intersections may not meet one of the traffic signal warrants in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), Chapter 4C, "Traffic Control Signal Needs Study." These warrants set minimum thresholds for considering installation of a traffic signal and do not consider the proximity of heavy or light rail. A traffic signal may also be beneficial at other locations where vehicles often queue over the tracks. It is desirable that the decision to install a signal at these types of locations be based on an assessment of risk. Factors that may influence the probabilities of risk include the number of trucks or busses approaching; the length and acceleration capability of those large vehicles; the space between the intersection and the tracks; the traffic volumes, speeds, and driver expectancy on the parallel highway; the acceptable gap or the time needed for a bus or truck to cross or turn onto the highway; and train characteristics such as the type of train (i.e., heavy or light), number of trains per day, and speeds. There may be other factors worth considering, such as sight distance, the type of railroad-crossing control in place, and the impacts on the train operator's and the transportation agency's liability. The objective of this project is to develop and recommend a new MUTCD traffic signal warrant for a highway-highway intersection near a highway-rail grade crossing.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $199137.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 3-76A

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

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

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Derr, B

  • Performing Organizations:

    Polytechnic University

    Transportation Training and Research Center
    333 Jay Street
    Brooklyn, NY  United States  11201
  • Principal Investigators:

    Prassas, Elena

  • Start Date: 20040331
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20060531
  • Source Data: RiP Project 8986

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01460827
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 3-76A
  • Files: RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:33PM