Advanced prediction of train arrival and crossing times at highway-railroad grade crossings

R. M. Estes, L. R. Rilett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


There are many issues related to highway-railroad grade crossings. For historic and practical reasons, trains have the right-of-way at grade crossings, which results in delays to motorists. In addition, the differential in size, speed, and stopping ability between motor vehicles and trains raises many serious safety concerns. Historically, the methods used to address these delay and safety problems at grade crossings have been reactive in nature. For example, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices specifies a minimum of 20 s of warning time for active warning devices at grade crossings. Intelligent transportation system (ITS) technology offers potential solutions for increasing the warning time at grade crossings. Advanced on-board devices and off-track detection equipment can allow train position and speed to be monitored. This information can be shared through wireless and wireline telecommunications equipment being deployed for ITS. Transportation management center personnel can then predict the arrival and crossing times of trains at grade crossings. It is hypothesized that if the warning time could reliably be increased, the traffic-operation strategies in the vicinity of grade crossings could be more proactive, reducing delay to motorists and increasing safety for both trains and automobiles. The research focuses on a second-generation technology approach to an advanced prediction of train arrival and crossing (gate-up and gate-down) times at highway-railroad grade crossings, including problems face at grade crossings, background on detection and prediction technology for grade crossings, the train monitoring system used as the test bed for the research, the development of the methodology, the results of the analysis, and the conclusions of the research and potential applications for the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1708
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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