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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way, Volume 2: Research Overview. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26503.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way, Volume 2: Research Overview. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26503.
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Page 2
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way, Volume 2: Research Overview. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26503.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

1   A great risk facing the rail transit and commuter rail industries is the continuing problem of trespassing incidents on many systems throughout the United States. Trespassers gain access to the rail right-of-way for several reasons and are at great risk of being struck and fatally injured or severely hurt while on the rights-of-way. Rail transit and commuter rail agencies have deployed a variety of techniques and treatments to address the trespasser issue and strive to deploy trespassing mitigation strategies while ensuring resources are effective. TCRP Project A-44 aims to provide information on strategies to deter trespass- ing on rail transit and commuter rail exclusive and semi-exclusive rights-of-way, including within station areas outside designated pedestrian crossings. TCRP Research Report 233: Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Com- muter Rail Rights-of-Way, Volume 1: Guidebook, was developed based on the work accom- plished on this project. The guidebook discusses the characteristics of trespassing activities experienced by the rail transit and commuter rail systems. It offers decision-making proce- dures developed and recommended by federal agencies, industry organizations, and other trespass prevention collaborations. The guidebook includes identified root causes, loca- tions, and consequences of trespassing along with methods to identify risks associated with trespassing. A list of countermeasures to mitigate trespassing is cataloged that details infor- mation retrieved from literature reviews and case studies. TCRP Research Report 233: Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way, Volume 2: Research Overview, details the research activities conducted to produce the guidebook including reviewing relevant literature, documenting current domestic and international practices, conducting an online survey, identifying best practices, and performing in-depth case studies with U.S. and non-North American transit agencies. The main contribution of this research is case study meetings with five U.S. and two non-North American transit agencies and secondary case studies that captured a wealth of information on trespassing and current mitigation strategies being used by agencies. Key Findings From Project Activities The following discusses key findings from the activities undertaken during the research project. Rail Transit and Commuter Rail System Characteristics This research considered exclusive and semi-exclusive rights-of-way on light rail, heavy rail, and commuter rail system properties that represent 50 rail transit and commuter rail S U M M A R Y Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way, Volume 2: Research Overview

2 Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way agencies in the United States. These agencies operate 22 light rail, 14 heavy rail, and 29 com- muter rail systems, with a combined total of over 10,000 guideway track-miles. In 2020, the guideway track-miles at grade with access restrictions that include exclusive and semi- exclusive alignments accounted for 77% of the right-of-way configurations. Trespassing Characteristics From 2015–2019, there were 77 pedestrian fatalities and 188 pedestrian injuries on light and heavy rail systems. FRA data showed 423 fatalities and 289 injuries on commuter rail lines over that period, indicating an upward trend in trespassing fatalities. Online Survey of Practitioners The online survey was performed to catalog practices to mitigate trespassing incidents and understand trespassing issues and concerns. The survey responses were collected from rail transit and commuter rail agencies and other affiliations. The survey results indicated that train crews and passengers were perceived to be the most impacted by trespassing inci- dents. There could be various reasons for the causes of trespassing, including intentional trespass, homeless encampments, and people under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many of the mitigation strategies listed in the survey were identified as effective, including fencing, anti-trespass guard panels, landscaping, and video analytics. Fencing is the most predomi- nantly used mitigation strategy among the U.S. rail transit or commuter rail agencies. Light- ing was perceived as mostly effective by the agencies that use it in most locations, especially in the heavy rail system. The general trend for enforcement and education was that the per- ception of effectiveness increased with increased utilization. The suggested strategies from the respondents included signage, new technology such as drones or big data, enforcement such as more citations or increased fines, exclusive rights-of-way, and suicide prevention programs. The respondents pointed out that the keys to helping with the trespassing issue would be sharing data between stakeholders, defining what a trespasser is, and identifying additional funding sources to investigate problems and implement strategies. Trespassing Countermeasure Strategies This study categorizes strategies to deter trespassing on rail transit and commuter rail rights-of-way into three categories: engineering and physical measures, education and engagement, and enforcement. Following the case studies and the internal discussions with the panel members, the list of countermeasures was updated throughout the project. Each trespassing countermeasure feature is provided with a description of the counter- measure strategy, examples of current use applications, an account of the stated level of effectiveness, and a summary of findings, primarily based on the literature review. Existing Guidelines Guidelines and standards for trespassing countermeasures were available from FRA, APTA, TCRP, the FTA, and Operation Lifesaver. The Community Analysis Response and Evaluation (CARE) model developed by FRA and Transport Canada aids in developing long-term trespass prevention strategies for communities. The Reduction of Suicides and Trespasses on Railway Property (RESTRAIL) Toolbox provides practical information collected for each countermeasure during a project.

Summary 3   Case Studies Five U.S. agencies and two non-North American agencies were selected for the primary case studies. To capture additional strategies and activities undertaken to address trespass- ing, especially agencies performing innovative or creative activities, the secondary case studies were performed with various entities. All case studies were performed virtually due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The countermeasure-related findings from case studies are incorporated in the guidebook. Key Findings From This Study The following is a list of key findings from this study: • New countermeasures were highlighted during case studies that were not viewed during the literature review, such as Hope Poles and track retrieval devices. Both Hope Poles and track retrieval devices are considered easy to implement at low operating and capital costs in very little time. Details for each countermeasure can be found in the guidebook. • Amtrak uses geographic information systems (GISs) to identify trespassing hotspots, analyze spatiotemporal data, and navigate factors to determine locations for suicide prevention signs. The identified strike trends and hotspot locations can be later combined with other geographic datasets, including homeless encampments, mental health facilities, and school locations, to examine socioeconomic and geographic factors concerning the hotspot loca- tions. Such GIS-based trend analysis can also help quantify effectiveness after implementing a countermeasure. • Some transit agencies have a conservative perspective on implementing new trespassing detection technologies, such as smart cameras and video analytics, mainly due to false posi- tives. False positives unnecessarily pull critical resources and reduce confidence in the tech- nology. Moreover, false positives could slow or stop train movements until the situation is cleared, which causes excessive delay and economic loss to the agency. • During case studies, several agencies mentioned the “broken window theory” that problems like unfixed fences, uncleaned graffiti, and unaddressed behaviors require immediate atten- tion to prevent more of these activities in the future. • There is no single countermeasure that could completely remove trespassing incidents from the rail rights-of-way. However, the collaboration and synergy of using multiple counter- measures promptly at appropriate locations are reportedly helpful in mitigating trespassing issues. • Transport for London has extensive public outreach strategies to reduce and respond to suicides. One of the strategies is white message boards that provide positive messages. The whiteboard positive messaging signs can be seen at the station and are often posted on social media.

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Trespassing on rail transit and commuter rail rights-of-way is a longstanding issue impacting every agency.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Research Report 233: Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way, Volume 2: Research Overview provides guidance on strategies to deter trespassing on rail transit and commuter rail rights-of-way.

This report is a supplement to TCRP Research Report 233: Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way, Volume 1: Guidebook.

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