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Highway-Rail Grade Crossing and Trespassing Research

Grade Crossing at grade


Highway-rail grade crossings are intersections where highways cross railroad tracks at-grade. Approximately 212,000 highway-rail grade crossings exist on approximately 140,000 miles of track that make up the United States’ railroad system. Grade crossings are also called level crossings in countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Trespassing along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. Nationally, more than 400 trespass fatalities occur each year. Railroad crossing incidents are the second leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. Together, trespassing and railroad crossing incidents account for 94% of all rail-related deaths and injuries, and almost all are preventable. To learn more about railroad safety efforts at highway-rail grade crossings, visit the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention page.

FRA conducts grade crossing and trespassing research to improve railroad safety and reduce accidents and incidents at grade crossings. This goal is advanced through research, development, and testing of safety technologies, and by providing trespassing countermeasures and best practices to communities and industry. FRA organizes its research into four areas: Grade Crossing Technology, Grade Crossing Pedestrian Safety, Grade Crossing Modeling and Simulation, and Grade Crossing and Trespass Outreach/Education.   

Grade Crossing and Trespassing Research