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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Highway-Rail Crossing Handbook - Third Edition

fhwasa18040v2.pdf (19.55 MB)

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The Highway-Rail Crossing Handbook, 3rd Edition (Handbook) has been prepared to disseminate current practices and requirements for developing engineering treatments for highway-rail grade crossings (referred to herein as "crossings"). The Handbook is intended to provide practitioners of all levels of knowledge and experience with critical background information and "noteworthy practices" consistent with the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) and more recent guidance developed by recognized subject matter experts. This edition constitutes a substantial update to and revision of the 2007 Handbook and efforts have been made to reorganize the contents. This edition includes "hotlinks" to facilitate navigation and access external information available on the web.


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This document does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation and the contents of this document do not necessarily reflect official policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This document contains images that are shown for illustration purposes only. For specific requirements, please refer to the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) provide high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. The FHWA and FRA periodically review quality issues and adjusts their programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No. FHWA-SA-18-040/FRA-RRS-18-001 2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Highway-Rail Crossing Handbook, 3rd Edition
5. Report Date
July 2019
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)
Brent D. Ogden, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Chelsey Cooper, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
Institute of Transportation Engineers
1617 Eye Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Office of Safety Design
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes:
FHWA Contracting Officer's Task Order Manager: Kelly Morton; FRA Task Order Manager: Debra Chappell;
ITE Project Manager: Lisa Fontana Tierney; ITE Technical Publications Manager: Deborah Rouse.
16. Abstract The purpose of the Highway-Rail Crossing Handbook, 3rd Edition is an information resource developed to provide a unified reference document on prevalent and best practices as well as adopted standards relative to highway-rail grade crossings. The handbook provides general information on highway-rail crossings; characteristics of the crossing environment and users; and physical and operational changes that can be made at crossings to enhance the safety and operation of both highway and rail traffic over such intersections. The guidelines identified and potential alternative improvements presented in this handbook reflect current best practices nationwide.

This handbook supersedes the Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook–Revised Second Edition published in August 2007. This version includes a compendium of materials that were included in the previous one, supplemented with new information and applicable regulations in force that were available at the time of the update.
17. Key Words
Grade Crossing, Railroad, Traffic Control, Crossing Safety
18. Distribution Statement
Grade Crossing, Railroad, Traffic Control, Crossing Safety
19. Security Classif. (of this report)
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
21. No. of Pages
22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized



The standard SI* (MODERN METRIC) CONVERSION FACTORS table is included here in this document, containing the approximate conversion factors to and from SI units. The table itself is available in 508 compliant HTML at the following URL: