The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently asked state departments of transportation to confirm that their railroad-crossing warning systems are properly coordinated with traffic lights at crossings.
In addition, the agency encouraged the departments to install event recorders in all traffic lights linked with railroad-crossing systems. This would allow information from inspections to be applied to safety improvements.
“Reducing fatalities at railroad crossings is an achievable goal,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “But we can only achieve it if federal, state and local governments work together with railroads to verify that these crossings connected to traffic lights work properly.”
There are approximately 5,000 U.S. railroad crossings that are designed to coordinate with traffic lights to improve the safety of railroad crossings.
“I have made improving railroad-crossing safety a top priority of mine because I know that we can and must do better,” FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg said in a letter to the USDOT. “But the Federal Railroad Administration cannot solve this problem on its own. Unless we work closely with state and local officials, law enforcement, railroads and transportation officials, and other stakeholders, we will not have the impact we are striving for, and we will not save as many lives. But working together, I know we can do more to prevent these incidents.”