Highway-Rail Grade Crossing and Trespass Prevention

The U.S. railroad system consists of over 750 railroads running on 140,000 miles of track. Every day trains travel across more than 212,000 highway-rail grade crossings.

A Grade Crossing is a location where a public highway, road, street, or private roadway, including associated sidewalks, and pathways, crosses railroad tracks at grade (same level as the street). There are over 38,000 locations were railroad tracks and roadways cross at different levels.

There have been about 270 deaths a year at public and private grade crossings. FRA, through the efforts of its Highway-Rail Crossing and Trespasser Prevention Division is committed to reducing that number. With the assistance of FRA’s programs, the number of fatalities has gone down by 54 percent over the last two decades.

Trespassing along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. Nationally, more than 445 trespass fatalities occur each year, and nearly as many injuries, the vast majority of which are preventable.

The reality is that nearly every 165 minutes in America, someone is hit by a train. Combined, highway-rail crossing and trespasser deaths account for 96 percent of all rail-related deaths and most of these deaths are avoidable.

Go directly to Train Horn, Whistle Ban and Quiet Zone for information on how to qualify for a Quiet Zone.

Federal funding for installing automatic warning devices and other improvements for public highway-rail crossings is managed by the Federal Highway Administration and commonly referred to as the Section 130 program. Click hereExternal Link for more information on Section 130 and information on State Action Plans to improve highway-rail grade crossing safety.

Click here to find the most common questions we get about the Grade Crossing Inventory Program.

To assist states and railroads in determining effective allocations of federal funds for rail-highway crossing improvements, FRA has developed the Rail-Highway Resource Allocation Procedure. This guide provides information for applying the procedure. See documents at right in the e-Library for more details.


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