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Federal Railroad Administration's Ruling:


Title: Countywide Railroad Crossing Quiet Zone Cost & Feasibility Study Author: Systems Administrator Last modified by: Liam Weston Created Date – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Federal Railroad Administration's Ruling:

Federal Railroad Administration's Ruling
  • Use of Locomotive Horns At Highway-Rail Grade
    Crossings Establishing Quiet Zones

Why has FRA issued this Rule?
  • Required by statute in order to provide national
    policy for trains to sound a locomotive horn at
    public grade crossings.
  • To permit exceptions where no significant risk
  • Promote Quality of Life without
  • Compromising Safety

Floridas Experience
  • July 1984 Florida authorized night-time whistle
    bans at crossings equipped with flashing lights,
    bells, gates and signs.
  • FRA noted a 195 increase in collision rate
    during ban hours at FEC crossings and 67
    increase at CSX crossings.
  • July 26, 1991 FRA issued Emergency Order No. 15
    that ended whistle bans in Florida.
  • Current Florida Statute CH 351 (.03) Any
    railroad train approaching within 1,500 feet of a
    public crossing shall emit a signal audible for
    such distance.

FRAs Train Horn Rule History
  • Nov 2, 1994 Statutory mandate enacted by Congress
    (Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of
    1994) to issue regulations requiring the sounding
    of locomotive horns at all public crossings, and
    to provide exceptions under specific conditions
    and circumstances.
  • Apr 1995 FRA completes and issues Nationwide
    Study of Train Whistle Bans.
  • Jan 12, 2000 Notice of Proposed Rule Making
    (NPRM) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement
    (DEIS) is issued

FRAs Train Horn Rule History (Contd.)
  • Dec 18, 2003 Interim Final Rule (IFR) is
    published, effective date of Dec 18, 2004
  • Nov 22, 2004 IFR effective date changed to Apr 1,
  • Mar 18, 2005 IFR effective date changed to June
    24, 2005
  • Apr 27, 2005 Final Rule is published
  • June 24, 2005 Final Rule goes into effect

FRA Changes in Train Horn Requirements
  • Requires the sounding of locomotive horn
  • approaching every public crossing (replacing
  • state law and railroad operating rules)
  • Horn shall be sounded at least 15 sec but no
  • more than 20 sec before locomotive enters
  • crossing and not greater than ¼ mile
  • Sec. 229.129 defines minimum and maximum
  • train horn decibel levels (96dBA-110dBA)
  • Effect of these changes will be to reduce horn
    noise for 3.4 million of the 9.3 million people
    currently affected by unregulated train horn

Exception to Train Horn Sounding
  • No Significant Risk of loss of life or serious
  • Use of locomotive horn is impractical
  • Safety measures compensate for absence of horn
  • Establish Quiet Zone

Quiet Zone
  • A quiet zone is a section of a rail line
    that contains one or more consecutive
    public crossings at which locomotive horns
    are not routinely sounded.

Who may establish a Quiet Zone?
  • Public Authority with jurisdiction for the
  • roadway at the crossing
  • If Quiet Zone includes more than one Public
  • All agencies must agree
  • Actions must be taken jointly
  • Quiet Zones may be established irrespective of
    state law

Minimum Requirements of a Quiet Zone
  • Minimum Length ½ mile
  • Active Grade Crossing Warning Devices
  • (Flashing Lights Gates conforming to MUTCD)
  • Constant Warning Time (CWT) Device
  • Advance Warning Signs

Example of Standard Flashing Lights Gates
Quiet Zones Two types
  • Pre-rule Quiet Zones (none in Florida)
  • Where train horns were silenced between October
    9, 1996 and December 18, 2003
  • New Quiet Zones
  • Any quiet Zones that do not qualify as Pre-Rule
    Quiet Zones
  • New Partial Quiet Zones
  • A Quiet Zone in which horns are only silenced
    between 10 P.M and 7 A.M
  • Same requirements as New Quiet Zone

How is a Quiet Zone established?
  • Approach 1 Implement Suplementary Safety
    Measures (SSM) at every public crossing within a
    proposed Quiet Zone

SSM Supplemental Safety Measures
  • SSMs are the engineering improvements applied at
    a crossing to reduce the risk of a collision
  • Temporary Closures
  • 4-Quadrant Gates
  • Gates with Medians or Channelization
  • Devices
  • One-way Streets with Gates
  • Permanent Closure

Temporary Closure
  • Close the Crossing to Highway traffic during
    designated Quiet Zone periods
  • Crossing must be closed during the same hours
    every day
  • Public Authority maintaining the street is
  • Effectiveness 1.0

Effectiveness value for each SSM references the
likelihood of a collision at the crossing as a
result of SSM being installed compared to
conventional crossing w/ train horn
Four- Quadrant Gate System
  • Install Gates to fully block the crossing when
    the gates are lowered
  • Gates must conform to standards contained in
  • Effectiveness 0.77

Gates with Medians or Channelization Devices
  • Install medians bounded by non-traversable curbs
    or channelization devices on both highway
  • Minimum curb height is 6-inches
  • Effectiveness 0.80

One Way Street with Gates
  • Install Gates such that all approaching highway
    lanes are completely blocked
  • Effectiveness 0.82

Permanent Closure
  • Permanently close the crossing to highway traffic
  • Must completely block highway traffic
  • Barricades and Signs used for closure shall
    conform to standards contained in the MUTCD
  • Must account for traffic diverted to other
  • Effectiveness 1.0

Alternative to SSM within a Quiet Zone Wayside
  • Stationary horn system designed to sound like a
    Train Horn
  • Mounted at the crossing
  • Reduces noise pollution in neighborhoods located
    near grade crossings
  • Treated as a One-for-One substitute for the train
  • Warning sounded until train reaches the crossing

Wayside Horn (Contd.)
  • Horn system must be equipped with an indicator to
    notify the locomotive engineer that the wayside
    horn is functioning properly.
  • Horn system must provide a minimum of 92 dB(A)
    and a maximum of 110 dB(A)

Wayside Horn vs. Train Horn
Alternative Safety Measures (ASMs) All ASMs must
be approved by FRA
  • Non-complying SSMs (e.g., shorter, or otherwise
    modified traffic channelization devices)
  • Photo enforcement
  • Programmatic education and awareness
  • Programmatic education and awareness
  • Programmatic enforcement
  • Justification for any education or enforcement
    ASM must show a statistically significant measure
    of its effectiveness in reducing risk.

How is a Quiet Zone Established? (Contd.)
  • Approach 2 (Risk based analysis)
  • Risk of a collision must be at the level that
    would be expected with the train horn sounding,
    or below a nationwide average risk level at
    public gated crossings where horns are sounded
  • 3 Scenarios under this approach
  • Scenario 1
  • Scenario 2
  • Scenario 3

Determination of Risk
  • Components of Risk for each crossing
  • Expected number of collisions
  • Probability of a collision producing a facility
    or an injury
  • Average number of fatalities or injuries that
    occur in such collisions
  • Cost to society

FRAs Quiet Zone Calculator
  • FRAS Quiet Zone Calculator will calculate the
    risk index for each crossing, and other necessary
  • The Quiet Zone Calculator can be used to develop
    and store multiple scenarios (try it with
    different combinations of SSMs) for any Quiet
    Zone proposal
  • http//safetydata.fra.dot.gov/quiet/

Quiet Zone Risk Index (QZRI)
  • Represents average risk index for all crossings
    in a proposed quiet zone with the absence of
    train horn.
  • Risk index for each crossing is obtained from
    Quiet Zone Calculator developed by FRA (available

National Significant Risk Threshold (NSRT)
  • Represents the average risk index of all public
    gated crossings in the nation at which train
    horns are sounded.
  • NSRT value is calculated by FRA
  • NSRT value varies every year
  • 15,424 (old value in IFR)
  • 17,030 (as of April 27,2005)

Risk Index With Horns (RIWH)
  • Represents the average risk index in the proposed
    quiet zone that would exist if train horns were
    sounded at every crossing in a quiet zone

Approach 2 Scenario 1
  • Quiet Zone may be established without any
    supplementary safety measures or wayside horn if
  • Reviewed annually by FRA to determine if the
    Quiet zone still qualifies under this rule

Approach 2 Scenario 2
  • Additional safety measures are taken at selected
    crossings so that
  • Reviewed annually by FRA to determine if the
    Quiet zone still qualifies under this rule

Approach 2 Scenario 3
  • Additional safety measures are taken at selected
    crossings so that
  • Not subject to FRA annual review
  • Local jurisdiction will never need to be
    concerned about the NSRT

Cost of a Quiet Zone
  • Depends on
  • Approach Methodology adapted
  • Number of crossings needing improvements
  • Type of improvement at a crossing

FRA Capital Costs of Equipment
  • Flashing Lights Gates - 150,000
  • Flashing Lights Gates to Four Quadrant Gates -
  • New Four Quadrant Gates - 300,000
  • Medians or Channelization Devices - 15,000
  • Vender supplied cost (Railroad Controls Limited)
  • Wayside Horn - 50,000

Hillsborough County Quiet Zones
  • Countywide study
  • Identified 81 potential crossings
  • Developed 15 Quiet Zones
  • Cost of implementing Quiet Zones based on
    Approach 1 is approax. 23,000,000
  • Cost of implementing Quiet Zones based on
    Approach 2 is 4,700,000
  • Funding Options

Summary of Costs of Quiet Zones Established Based
on Different Approaches for Hillsborough County
Funding Sources / Options
  • No Direct funding sources for Quiet Zones
  • Federal Government Programs (very low funding
  • Federal Highway Administration Section 130
  • Administered by the Federal Highway
    Administration (FHWA).
  • Provides bulk of the federal crossing improvement
  • Up to 10 of the cost of crossing improvement may
    be assessed to the affected railroads.
  • Countys efforts at receiving funds would be
    directed towards the State, not Federal
  • Innovative Financing
  • Special Benefit Assessment (Special Taxing
  • Identify Noise Impact Area

Train Horn Noise Concepts
  • Train horn noise is measured in dBA
  • dB decibels, general strength of noise.
  • A indicates that the sound has been filtered to
    reduce the strength of very low high frequency

Acceptable Noise in Residential Area
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Acceptable if ? 65 dBA
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Acceptable if ? 55 dBA

Impact Areas
  • Determined by FRAs horn noise model
  • Impact Area (within 55 dBA Contour)
  • Severe Impact Areas (within 65 dBA contour)
  • ¼ mile on either side of the crossing

Typ. Impact Area in a Suburban Area
Required Notifications for New Quiet Zones
  • Notice of Intent Railroad State DOT
  • 60 days notice to provide information and
    comments to public authority
  • Notice of Quiet Zone Establishment RR State
  • 21 day notice

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