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Mid-America Transportation Center

Assessment of Truck Safety at Railroad Crossings

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Aemal Khattak (akhattak2@unl.edu 402-472-8126)
  • Graduate Students
  • Miao Gao
  • Zheng Luo
  • Miao Gao
  • Project Status
    Complete
    About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Truck safety at highway-railroad grade (HRG) crossings is a concern in Nebraska as well as nationwide. Large trucks constitute approximately 26% of the accidents reported at HRG crossings in Nebraska. This research assumes that unsafe interactions between trucks and trains are indicative of safety and precursor to crashes. There is no information available on the frequency and rate of unsafe interactions between trucks and trains in Nebraska as well as no information on the factors that are associated with those unsafe interactions. The discovery of such information will help with assessment of the problem as well as provide direction for development and testing of equipment for reducing unsafe truck-train interactions.
    Research Objective
    The objective of this research is to obtain a better understanding of factors associated with truck (>10,000 lbs gross weight) safety at highway-railroad grade (HRG) crossings in Nebraska.
    Potential Benefits
    This project will attempt to discover information that will help with assessment of truck safety at HRG crossings as well as provide direction for development and testing of equipment for reducing unsafe truck-train interactions.
    Abstract
    The objective of this research is to obtain a better understanding of factors associated with truck (>10,000 lbs gross weight) safety at highway-railroad grade (HRG) crossings in Nebraska. Trucks are especially vulnerable at HRG crossings because of their large size, lesser maneuverability, and relatively slow acceleration and deceleration. Truck traffic in rural areas of Nebraska and consequently at HRG crossings increases significantly in the spring and the fall, coinciding with increased farming activities. This research will investigate instances of “unsafe” truck-train interactions and associated factors at the 141st St. highway-railroad grade (HRG) crossing located in Waverly, NE. A grain elevator that attracts significant truck traffic is located in the northeast quadrant of this HRG crossing. Thus, this location is ideal for studying truck-railroad interactions. Video surveillance equipment will be installed at this location as part of a NDOR-sponsored project investigating bicyclists and pedestrians beginning in July 2008. Video collected for the NDOR project will be utilized for this project with focus on unsafe truck-train interactions. Prior to data collection this research will define unsafe interactions and factors (e.g., weather, lighting, time of day, etc.) that would be extracted from the video for analysis. Analysis of the data will focus on frequency and rate of unsafe interactions between trucks and railroads and development of models that account for the different factors that might impact unsafe interactions. Recommendations for reducing unsafe interactions will be made based on the results.
    Project Amount
    $ 69,388