This first survey obtained background information and opinions/experiences on participating drivers about railroad crossings. A total of 752 professional drivers representing 34 companies participated in the survey. Drivers gave an average effectiveness rating of 4.7 for crossing gates, 4.5 for flashing lights, 3.5 for clanging bell, 3.3 for train horn, 3.1 for crossbuck signs, and 3.0 for advance warning signs (5 means very high and 1 means very low). About 47% of the drivers said that railroad crossings present a significant driving hazard above normal driving conditions, but 46% said they do not. Seventy four percent of the drivers said that most railroad crossings are adequately protected/have adequate safety warning devices. However, 22% said that the crossings need more protection/more warning devices. The perception of hazards does not depend on the frequency of crossing railroad tracks or the number of times the drivers stop at the crossings. The perception of hazards does not influence the rating of the effectiveness of the warning devices. However, the perception of hazards influences the drivers’ views on the current standard of railroad grade crossing devices. The precautions drivers take when crossing the tracks are influenced by their perception of hazards and the adequacy of the current standard of warning devices. Drivers who thought crossings needed more protective warning devices rely on the train horn and advance warning signs more than other groups of drivers. Their view of the current standard of railroad warning devices also depends on the type of vehicle they drive. A higher proportion of the drivers in the group that thinks that railroad crossings need more protection drove a bus most frequently.
|Traffic Operations Lab Series