Railroad Safety: Grade Crossings and Trespassing

Rahim F. Benekohal, Jacob Mathew

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Accidents on rail lines may be a collision between a highway vehicle and a train (at grade crossings), a collision between two trains, or incidents involving pedestrians and trespassers on rail property, derailments, or any other events involving on-track equipment causing reportable damage above an established threshold. Railroad accidents are rare compared to roadway accidents, but their proportion of fatalities is higher compared to roadways. There has been a decline in number of railroad accidents in the past 3 decades, but every year there are still many railroad accidents. In recent years, there has also been an increase in the number of trespassing and pedestrian-related incidents. This article is divided into three sections. The first is about grade crossing safety. It gives an overview of accident trends at grade crossings. It also talks about traffic control devices used at railroad crossings and procedures developed to prioritize crossings for safety improvement. Section two comments on trespassing issues along rail lines. Section three discusses emerging technologies to improve railroad safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Transportation
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-7
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780081026724
ISBN (Print)9780081026717
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Crossbucks
  • Flashing lights
  • Gates
  • Grade crossing
  • Intelligent transportation systems
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Positive train control
  • Railroad safety
  • Traffic control devices
  • Traffic signal interconnection
  • Traffic signal preemption
  • Trespassing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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