An Investigation of Safety Problems at Skewed Rail-Highway Grade Crossings

Report No: 84-R47

Published in 1984

About the report:

Skewed rail-highway grade crossings can be a safety problem because of the restrictions which the angle of crossing may place upon a motorist's ability to detect an oncoming train and because of the potential roadway hazard which the use of flangeways in crossing surfaces poses for cyclists. This study has found that at skewed grade crossings in Virginia where design sight distance requirements cannot be met restrictions have usually been imposed by vegetation, buildings, or embankments and not by the angle of crossing. The investigation of cyclist accidents has shown that these accidents appear to be limited to crossings that intersect the centerline of the highway at an angle of 30° or less. To improve safety at these crossings, it is suggested that cyclist warning signs be installed, a section on skewed crossings hazards be added to the Virginia Motorcycle Operator's Manual, instruction on skewed crossing safety be included in the Department of Education's bicycle safety program, and, at those crossings where cyclist accidents are a frequent occurrence, engineering feasibility studies be conducted on the use of a rubber crossing surface with filler strips in the flangeways.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Eric Paltell

Last updated: January 17, 2024

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