AuthorSimpson, Sarah Anne
Committee ChairHickman, Mark
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractHighway/railroad grade crossings present a danger to vehicular traffic. According to the USDOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2009, there were 1,887 crashes at highway/rail crossings resulting in 248 fatalities (FRA, 2009). The installation of presignals at grade crossings decreases crashes and fatalities at highway/rail crossings. There are no Federal standards that provide guidance for the installation of presignals. Therefore, current practices do not conform to any set of consistent nationwide standards except for guidelines specified in the MUTCD. These guidelines state that a presignal should be considered where the at-grade highway/rail crossing is located within 50 feet of a signalized intersection. The MUTCD also gives the option of installing a presignal at a distance greater than 50 feet, if an engineering study determines a need; however, no specific guidelines are provided for such studies.This work uses a case study to determine which measures are needed to warrant a presignal and examines if the distance criterion of 50 feet between signalized intersections and highway/rail crossings is adequate. It also explores the need for consistent national standards to provide guidance to practitioners in determining the needs for the installation of such signals.The study finds that distance criterion should not be used as the sole indicator for the installation of a presignal and therefore, engineering studies must be performed in all cases to determine presignal needs. Furthermore, the work concluded that the MUTCD must be modified to provide standards and guidelines that can be used nationwide for systematic quantitative assessment in determining when presignals are warranted near railroad crossings. This study proposes that presignals be installed based on warrants that consist of crash data, queue distance and no gates at the crossing. The proposed modifications include describing presignal types, defining their purpose, developing presignal warrants, and creating guidelines that can be used by practitioners.The changes and revisions recommended by this research work include queue length analysis, signal phasing and timing modifications, and existing intersection infrastructure needs. The resulting warrants and guidelines for presignal installation can be used nationally to provide uniform guidance and recommendations in performing presignal studies.
Degree ProgramCivil Engineering