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Mid-America Transportation Center

Developing a Safety Management System Including Hazardous Materials for Highway-Rail Grade Crossings (HRGC) in Region VII


University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Principal Investigator
Li Zhao
PI Contact Information
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided
USDOT: $105,597
UNL: $112,195
Total Project Cost
$ 217,792
Agency ID or Contract Number
Start Date
End Date
Research Objective
The objective of this project is to identify the potential critical contributors to the hazards at HRGCs. A prototype of the safety management systems (SMS) will be developed that will allow transportation agencies to conduct advanced risk assessment studies of all HRGCs in the United States. The prototype SMS intends to function as 1) a tool to identify risk HRGC issues such as crash black-spots, 2) an integrated forecasting model for agencies that accounts for both crash likelihood and severity, and 3) a connection of traffic authority, staff, and the public in exploring the safety information.
Potential Benefits
The benefits of this project will be to improve the quality of the information provided to decision-makers and enhance the statewide safety management of HRGCs. In particular, the development of the safety management systems (SMS) can assist HRGC managers in taking proactive actions instead of reactive, to safety and risk situations they face regarding HRGCs.
Brief Description of Research Project
The project will start with preparing a comprehensive data base including crash data, inventory data, etc. Prediction models for highway-rail grade crossing (HRGC) crashes will be calibrated and validated and will especially include the risk of hazardous materials being released into the surrounding areas as a result of a crash. Finally, a prototype HRGC safety management system (SMS) will be developed. The prototype will be tested using Nebraska’s crash data and first implemented for Nebraska. The prototype SMS structure will be designed so that it can be adopted readily by state DOTs in Region VII and across the United States.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation
Web Links
Modal Orientation
  • Highways
  • Railroad
  • Safety and Human Performance