Pedestrian/Bicyclist Warning Devices and Signs at Highway-Rail and Pathway-Rail Grade Crossings

Principal Investigators:

Paul Metaxatos and P.S. Sriraj; 312-996-4713; 312-413-7568


Illinois Center for Transportation


Paul Metaxatos and P.S. Sriraj





Federal reporting shows a relatively constant number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities at highway-rail and pathway-rail grade crossings over the past 10 years. This is in contrast to a marked decrease in train–vehicle collisions at highway-rail crossings. There is limited research on the subject of how to reduce the number of collisions between trains and pedestrians and bicyclists at highway-rail and pathway-rail grade crossings. The objective of this research was to determine best practices for providing effective warnings to non-motorized users of highway-rail and pathway-rail grade crossings that (1) inform the user of the presence of a crossing, and (2) inform the user to take appropriate action to prevent a collision.



The study was divided into five components: (1) Literature review; (2) Survey of state agencies and industry professionals; (3) Identification of 10 ‘hot’ spots to be used for survey locations; (4) Survey of non-motorized users and analysis of stated pedestrian behavior; and (5) Video surveillance of non-motorized users and analysis of observed pedestrian behavior..


Expected Results and Products:

The study highlighted the multitude of factors related to pedestrian safety in this context and provided an informed discussion for stakeholders to advance safety initiatives. A copy of the completed report can be downloaded from from this link.


Contact Information:
Paul Metaxatos
Urban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
412 South Peoria Street, Suite 340
Chicago, Illinois 60607
Voice (312) 996-4713
Fax (312) 413-0006