Influence of Driver Attention on Rail Crossing Safety

MTU Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-MTU-R03
Project TitleInfluence of Driver Attention on Rail Crossing Safety
UniversityMichigan Technological University
Project ManagerLautala
Principal InvestigatorHill
PI Contact InformationPhone: (906) 487-3176 Email:
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)$39,000 Michigan Tech Departmental and Research Funds; $39,000 USDOT RITA
Total Project Cost$78,000
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2012-05-01
End Date2016-03-31
Brief Description of Research ProjectThe main objective of this research is an understanding of how visual field and visual attention on the part of the driver influence safety at rail crossings. Using a driving simulator equipped with a suite of rail crossing simulations and eye tracking hardware, visual scanning patterns will be assessed for a variety of crossing types, warning system types, and for drivers engaged in distracting tasks at crossings. This will be completed in three studies. The first study will evaluate visual field use for a variety of crossing types ranging from rural crossings with rail crossing bucks to crossings with gates and lights. The second study will assess the effect of driver distraction on crossing safety. Distractions will be driver based (i.e. cell phone use), vehicle based (i.e. secondary vehicle systems) and environment based (i.e. pedestrians near crossings). The third study will relate to crossing geometries. This will include evaluation of oblique crossings, evaluation of high speed passenger train interactions and replications of crossings with a documented history of vehicle-train collisions.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2012-MTU-R03_Final_Report_SL_driver_behavior_v4.5.pdf