National Academies Press: OpenBook

Improving Pedestrian and Motorist Safety Along Light Rail Alignments (2009)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - LRT Catalog of Safety Treatments

« Previous: Chapter 4 - Safety Issues and Their Treatment
Page 56
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - LRT Catalog of Safety Treatments." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Improving Pedestrian and Motorist Safety Along Light Rail Alignments. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14327.
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Page 56
Page 57
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - LRT Catalog of Safety Treatments." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Improving Pedestrian and Motorist Safety Along Light Rail Alignments. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14327.
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Page 57
Page 58
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - LRT Catalog of Safety Treatments." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Improving Pedestrian and Motorist Safety Along Light Rail Alignments. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14327.
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Page 58

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56 LRT agencies should identify safety issues and then, work- ing with or under the supervision of SSOs, and in cooperation with other bodies such as city transportation departments and the police, select appropriate safety treatments. The safety treatments may include active or passive physical devices or practices, education, and/or enforcement, and may be applied locally or on a location, line, or system-wide basis. Introduction to the Catalog of LRT Safety Treatments As part of Project A-30, the project team assembled a cata- log that provides readily accessible information about LRT- related treatments than can be used to address the safety issues that arise where LRT alignments meet motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. The catalog is intended to assist agencies in choos- ing and applying the appropriate treatment or combination of treatments for given safety problems, taking into account the specific circumstances of the agency. The catalog includes active and passive physical treatments as well as education- and enforcement-based treatments. To enhance usability, the cat- alog has been included as a separate document and attached in Appendix A. The project team began assembling the catalog based on a list of treatments developed as part of the online survey dur- ing the last few months of 2006. Two types of treatments were included: commonly used treatments and new technologies. This list was assembled by the project team and provided to the Panel. After review by the Panel, the project team incorporated all comments received. The list of treatments was carried for- ward throughout the rest of the project. The information in the catalog comes from the following sources: • Directly from the five LRT agencies that cooperated with the project team during a series of site visits, • Discussions in person and by phone with LRT agency staff, • Phone consultations with SSOs, and • Literature review. The project team refined the list of treatments for inclusion in the catalog. Some treatments were removed or combined with other treatments to improve clarity and flow. Select inno- vative or interesting treatments identified during the site visits were added. The catalog, as presented here, is not exhaustive, and other treatments should be included in the catalog in future updates. Some widespread treatments are not addressed in the cat- alog. These include: • Left turn prohibitions: Most jurisdictions with type b and type c alignments use turn prohibitions at some intersec- tions. The prohibitions are often applied in alignments where the LRT runs down the center of the roadway and are intended to prevent drivers from turning in front of an LRV in locations where they may not see or notice an LRV approaching. Agencies noted that drivers often violate turn prohibitions (as is common with turn prohibitions outside the LRT context) and that they are hard to enforce. Many agencies are moving towards blank out signs to prohibit left turns as an LRV approaches. Blank out signs are addressed in the catalog. • Two quadrant gates: Where gates are installed along an LRT or railroad alignment, these are the most common type. Two quadrant gates block the approach lane(s) on each side as a train approaches. They do not block the opposing traffic lane; gates that block both the approach- ing and opposing traffic lanes are called four quadrant gates and these are addressed in the catalog. Gates seem to be more common in areas with existing railroad crossings and can be beneficial because of recognition by the local population. Areas without a history of railroad crossings seem to be more likely to install signals or other types of controls. There are no data indicating which treatment C H A P T E R 5 LRT Catalog of Safety Treatments

57 prevents more accidents. Gates in general can be problem- atic (bell noise, mechanism maintenance and durability) when the frequency of LRT service is very high. • Grade separation: Exclusive alignments typically experi- ence few (if any) collisions, and grade separation at inter- sections could be considered a safety treatment. Grade separation converts a type b alignment to a type a align- ment for the length of the separation. However, exclusive alignments are not addressed in the catalog due to the extreme implementation costs in comparison with other treatments and the combination of space requirements and possible environmental impacts that make them likely to be a treatment of last resort. The catalog could eventually be presented as a searchable database that could be updated by approved users. LRT Agen- cies, SSOs, and other users could be encouraged to access the database and to add treatments and information about the treatments as information becomes available. Statistical reports and research on treatments could be added to the database, and subscribers could be notified of changes. As noted in the main body of the report, this project prima- rily addressed semi-exclusive alignments. The catalog includes a field suggesting the type of alignments to which each treat- ment can be applied. For clarity, the alignment types are given in Table 32. LRT Safety Treatments Included in the Catalog The information presented in the catalog was collected throughout the project. Much of the information came directly from LRT agencies that cooperated with the project team during a series of site visits. Additional information was gathered during the literature review and during phone con- sultations with LRT agencies and SSOs. The information was compiled in a catalog format and attached as Appendix A for ease of use. The treatments included in the catalog are organized into seven categories. The categories are intended for reference organization purposes only, and some treatments may fall into more than one category, but every treatment has been listed only once. It is also noted in the catalog that some treat- ments have been referred to by several names. The categories and treatments are: 1. Signals and active warnings a) Signal priority b) Transit signal pre-emption c) Audible crossing warning devices d) Constant warning time systems e) Pre-signals f) Flashing light signals g) Limits on downtime of gates h) Crossing horns—automatic and LRV–operator- activated i) Illuminated, active, in-pavement marking systems j) Blank out signs k) Pedestrian signals 2. Signs a) Stop and yield signs b) Retroreflective advance warning signs c) Flashing train-approaching warning signs d) Gate crossing status indication signals 3. Second train approaching treatments a) Second train approaching signals and active signs b) Second train approaching warning signs 4. Gates a) Pedestrian automatic gates b) Four-quadrant gates 5. Pedestrians a) Pedestrian fencing/landscaping Table 32. LRT alignment classification. Class Category Description of Access Control Exclusive Type a Fully grade separated or at-grade without crossings Type b.1 Separate right-of-way Type b.2 Shared right-of-way, protected by barrier curbs and fences (or other substantial barriers) Type b.3 Shared right-of-way, protected by barrier curbs Type b.4 Shared right-of-way, protected by mountable curbs, striping and/or lane designation Semi-exclusive Type b.5 LRT/pedestrian mall adjacent to parallel roadway Type c.1 Mixed traffic operation Type c.2 Transit-only mall Non-exclusive Type c.3 LRT/pedestrian mall Source: TCRP Report 69

58 b) Offset (or Z) pedestrian crossings c) Pedestrian swing gates 6. Channelization/markings a) Pavement marking, texturing, and striping b) Quick curbs c) Rumble strips d) Channelizations e) Illumination of crossings 7. Education and enforcement a) Photo enforcement b) Enforcement c) Education outreach programs d) CCTV/video recording Safety Treatment Information Included in the Catalog The catalog is designed for practitioners. It describes each treatment and gives the treatment’s purpose, implementation effects, relative costs, and (where available) examples of the treatment’s application. Actual cost estimates were not avail- able; costs can also change dramatically over time and may depend on location. The following information is provided for each treatment: • The treatment name and alternative names, • Basic summary of the treatment’s intended operation, • Picture(s) or illustrations of the treatment in operation, • Purpose of the treatment, • Suitable installation locations, • Implementation effects, • Contraindications to treatment (situations where the treat- ment is not appropriate or may be harmful), • Relative cost, • Other resources available, • Links to related treatments, • A short list of agencies that have experience with the treatment, • Examples from agencies that have installed the treatment, and • Information about agencies that are conducting trials.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 137: Improving Pedestrian and Motorist Safety Along Light Rail Alignments examines pedestrian and motorist behaviors contributing to light rail transit (LRT) safety and explores mitigating measures available designed to improve safety along LRT alignments. The report also includes suggestions to facilitate the compilation of accident data in a coordinated and homogeneous manner across LRT systems. Finally, the report provides a catalog of existing and innovative safety devices, safety treatments, and practices along LRT alignments. Appendices B through E of TCRP Report 137 were published as TCRP Web-Only Document 42.

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