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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded

2013

Month Degree Awarded

February

Keywords

rail, at-grade crossings, safety, knowledge corridor, amtrak

Abstract

Highway-rail grade crossings are safer than ever, but collisions between motor vehicles and trains persist. Some collisions could be prevented by actively maintaining such grade crossings, yet many at-grade rail crossings are only evaluated following collisions. Those crossings that experience no collisions may go decades without being inspected. In recent years, the Congress has allocated funds for a national High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program, and it is in the public’s interest for state road/highway agencies to inspect all highway-rail crossings in high-speed rail corridors to ensure that the warning systems in place are commensurate with the crossings’ needs. The objectives of this research are to a) determine the adequacy of traffic control devices at highway-rail grade crossings along the restored Vermonter tracks in Massachusetts; and b) to recommend crossings for closure and/or grade separation if it is determined that the traffic control devices are inadequate at an intersection. The major findings of this paper are that a majority of the at-grade rail crossings need some improvements to be in compliance with MUTCD standards. Additionally, four at-grade crossings are identified for closure, grade-separation, and/or additional traffic control devices beyond MUTCD standards.

First Advisor

John Collura

Second Advisor

Michael Knodler

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