Cover Image

Not for Sale



View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 62


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 61
61 recognizing the need for a national aviation noise policy. particularly as is related to grade crossings. Examples of rail- A critical part of the statute was direction to eliminate the road mitigation programs include use of older, noisier "Stage 2" aircraft weighing more than 75,000 pounds in the contiguous United States after Decem Grade crossing management, ber 31, 1999. The final revision and rules of this act were Quiet zones, established in September 1991 as Part 91. Another important Trespass prevention programs, element of the noise policy is the Notice and Approval Airport Operation Lifesaver, and Noise and Access Restrictions, Part 161, which establishes a Canada Proximity website. program for reviewing airport noise and access restrictions on the use of Stage 2 and newer, quieter Stage 3 aircraft. A few of these measures are discussed here, but a more com- Finally, what is known as the FAA's Part 150 Program is plete discussion can be found on the EnvisionFreight website. another critical noise and land-use program. Airport opera- tors develop their own comprehensive noise and land-use Grade Crossing Management compatibility programs under Part 150, which identify noise mitigation projects and procedures to reduce aviation noise. A railroad grade crossing is an intersection where a roadway Part 150 is a voluntary program that encourages airport oper crosses railroad tracks at the same level (grade). According ators to develop noise exposure maps and noise compat- to FRA, there are more than 250,000 grade crossings in the ibility programs. These identify noise contours and land-use United States. incompatibilities. The FAA then determines if the airport's The responsibility for grade crossing safety is shared between the FMCSA, FRA, and FHWA. State DOTs, local jurisdictions, Part 150 Program is appropriate. Once this is established, and railroads also are involved in grade crossing safety issues. an airport operator can apply for grants to fund studies and Railroads own and maintain the tracks, and they own the airport noise compatibility projects. At year-end 2007, there property on either side of the tracks. At the grade crossings, they were 271 airports participating in the Part 150 Program, and install and maintain the tracks and the roadway surface around 238 had an approved noise compatibility program (Federal and between the rails, as well as any traffic control devices on Aviation Administration 2009a, 2009b). their right-of-way. Noise projects include residential and public building sound According to FRA, although the railroad owns the track, insulation, land acquisition, and the relocation of residents the roadway at a crossing is owned by either a public or pri- from areas significantly impacted by noise. As part of this, vate entity. Public crossings are those at which the highway many airports have acquired noise monitoring equipment or roadway is under the jurisdiction of, and maintained by, and installed noise barriers to reduce ground run-up noise, a public authority such as a municipality, county, or state and have created noise round tables composed of stakeholders agency. Private crossings are those where the roadway is pri- from the airport, local politicians, and local residents to ensure vately owned (such as on a farm or within an industrial com- that these programs run smoothly. plex), is not intended for public use, and is not maintained by a public authority. The roadway owner, public or private, typi- Examples cally maintains the road approaching the crossing on either side of the tracks. Airport noise mitigation programs have been implemented FHWA is responsible for public grade crossing issues that at multiple airports around the United States. A few examples affect highway safety. FHWA develops and provides guidelines are provided on the EnvisionFreight website. For example, and standards for the correct design of grade crossings, the Louisville, Kentucky, (the third largest all-cargo airport in the assessment of safety at crossings, and the placement of traffic United States by landed weight and one of the larger hubs for control devices at approaches to grade crossings. Fed-Ex and UPS) has an extensive noise mitigation program, Federal law requires that every time a train approaches an a community noise forum, and large noise-based commu- at-grade crossing, it must sound its horn. This is for safety nity relocation programs. The noise mitigation programs for reasons and provides a signal to anyone on the grade crossing, O'Hare International Airport in Chicago also are discussed or approaching it, that a train is coming. on the website. Under the Train Horn Rule (U.S. Department of Trans por tation 2006), locomotive engineers must sound train horns for a minimum of 15 seconds and a maximum of 20 seconds, in Railroad Mitigation Activities advance of all public grade crossings, except as follows: Railroads have been involved in efforts to reduce the noise and vibration effects of their operations. There also have If a train is traveling faster than 45 mph, engineers will been efforts by the industry to promote safety and awareness, not sound the horn until it is within one-quarter mile

OCR for page 61
62 of the crossing, even if the advance warning is less than can be achieved through the use of quadrant barriers that are 15 seconds. put in place around the crossing. The use of quadrant barriers If a train stops in close proximity to a crossing, the horn provides a community relief from whistles and provides a does not have to be sounded when the train begins to move railroad with continued operational functionality to serve a again. local customer base. There is a "good faith" exception for locations where en- The costs of implementing a quiet zone must be borne by gineers can't precisely estimate their arrival at a crossing. the local jurisdiction--this includes preliminary engineering, construction, maintenance, and replacement of active warning Wherever feasible, train horns must be sounded in a devices or their components. According to FRA, estimates of standardized pattern of two long, one short, and one long. costs for quiet zone warning devices, wayside horns, or both, The horn must continue to sound until the lead locomotive vary dramatically (U.S. Department of Transportation 2010a or train car occupies the grade crossing. and 2010b). For example, One of the best ways to address rail/highway grade crossing safety is to reduce the number of at-grade crossings. Railroads Four-quadrant gate system: $300,000 to $500,000; actively work to close public and private at-grade crossings Basic active warning system (including flashing lights and where possible, working closely with communities and property gates, constant warning time, power-out indicator, and a owners. Good candidates for closure include grade crossings cabin): $185,000 to $400,000; that are redundant (other crossings nearby allow access to the Basic inter-connect: $5,000 to $15,000; and Annual maintenance: $4,000 to $10,000. same roads or areas), are not designated emergency routes, have low traffic volumes, or are private crossings that are no longer needed or used. An example of a four-quadrant gate crossing is found in In addition to safety, some of the main benefits of closing Figure 8-1. grade crossings are fewer traffic delays, idling cars, and green- house gas emissions. Most importantly for many communities, Trespass Prevention Programs closing grade crossings also eliminates noise as whistles are One of the major safety issues that occurs because of com- no longer sounded. munity proximity to railroads is that of trespass. Railroads across the United States actively discourage trespass on their Quiet Zones right-of-way and within their rail yards. Statistics and evidence show that people will frequently use the railroad right-of-way FRA created a rule for cities to create "quiet zones" in which trains are not required to sound their horns at controlled crossings (grade crossings). FRA's website provides flowcharts for determining whether a city can implement a quiet zone (U.S. Department of Transportation 2010b). Developing a quiet zone is one way a city can mitigate the negative impacts of a freight rail corridor operating near residential areas. Quiet zones are designed to reduce noise around residential areas, schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other noise-sensitive land uses. Grade crossings within one-half mile of another crossing in a quiet zone are to be included within the quiet zone boundary. Once a city has decided to move forward with a quiet zone, it is required under 49 CFR 222.43 to notify the freight rail- road about the intent to establish a quiet zone. Details that must be included within the letter of notice of intent include the crossing ID number, street name and location, type of warning zone devices that will be deployed, and details of the contact person. Cities also must send a notice of establishment of a railroad zone to FRA. Figure 8-1. Four-quadrant gate grade crossing A quiet zone is created through the use of safety measures treatment in Gardner, Illinois (U.S. Department that compensate for the absence of horns. For example, this of Transportation 2008b).