Policy and Guidance
The Section 130 program funds are eligible for projects at all public crossings including roadways, bike trails and pedestrian paths. Fifty percent of a State's apportionment under 23 USC 130(e) is dedicated for the installation of protective devices at crossings. The remainder of the funds apportionment can be used for any hazard elimination project, including protective devices. The FAST Act extends eligibility to include projects at grade crossings to eliminate hazards posed by blocked crossings due to idling trains.
In accordance with 23 USC 130(i), the funds can be used as incentive payments for local agencies to close public crossings provided there are matching funds from the railroad. Also, in accordance with 23 USC 130(h), the funds can be used for local agencies to provide matching funds for State-funded projects.
Per 23 USC 130(d), each State is required to conduct and maintain a survey of all highways to identify railroad crossings that may require separation, relocation, or protective devices, and establish and implement a schedule of projects. At a minimum, this schedule is to provide signs for all railway-highway crossings.
In accordance with 23 USC 130(g), States are required to submit annual reports on the progress of implementing their Railway-Highway Crossings program. For additional information please see the Railway-Highways Crossings Program Reporting Guidance and the Rail-Highway Crossings Program (Section 130) Questions & Answers. Also, 23 USC 130(k) allows States to use up to 2% of their Section 130 funding for compilation and analysis of data to support the reporting requirements.
23 USC 130(l) requires States to update information for each public crossing in the DOT crossing inventory database, including information about warning devices and signage. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) maintains the Crossing Inventory. On January 6, 2015, the FRA published regulations that require railroads to submit information to the Crossing Inventory about crossings through which they operate. For more information, see the FRA National Grade Crossing Inventory Reporting Regulations.
Emergency Notification Systems
The Federal Railroad Administration issued regulations under 49 CFR 234 Subpart E for Emergency Notification Systems (ENS). The ENS allows members of the public to contact the railroads responsible for the crossing and report an emergency or other unsafe condition at highway-rail and pathway crossings. The ENS consists of:
- Signs, placed at each grade crossing, that display critical emergency contact information and identify specific crossings;
- A method for railroads to receive and document telephone calls reporting an unsafe condition;
- A way to track the remedial actions taken by the railroad; and
- Required recordkeeping.
More information can be found on FRA's ENS webpage. The layout of Emergency Notification signs (sign I-13) for railroad grade crossings can be found in the FHWA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Standard Highway Signs