Heavy Truck and Bus Traversability at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

University  University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL)
Principal Investigators  Jennifer Schmidt, PhD., P.E., Civil Engineering (PI)
Cody Stolle, PhD., Mechanical and Materials Engineering (Co-PI)
Ronald Faller, PhD., Civil Engineering (Co-PI)
Mojdeh Asadollahipajouh, PhD., MwRSF (Co-PI)
PI Contact Information  WHIT 130J
Lincoln: City Campus
Office (402) 472-0870
jennifer.schmidt@unl.edu 
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)  UTCRS (USDOT UTC Program): $100,000
NE Department of Roads: $50,000
Total Project Cost  $150,000
Agency ID or Contract Number  DTRT13-G-UTC59
Start and End Dates October 2016 — June 2018
Brief Description of Research Project  The objective of this research study was to provide recommendations for traversable highway-rail grade crossings for low, long wheelbase vehicles such as trucks and buses.
A literature review was performed to gather information regarding highway-rail grade crossing guidelines, current laws concerning high-profile crossings and signage, crossing maintenance practices, previous work related to highway-rail grade crossing traversability for heavy trucks and buses, and accidents involving low, long wheelbase vehicles becoming highcentered on highway-rail grade crossings. Dimensions for low, long wheelbase trailers, buses, and recreational vehicles were compiled and utilized to determine the most critical vehicles. Drive tests were performed by a tractor-trailer to determine trailer suspension properties, and the information was used to increase the accuracy of vehicle simulation models. Simulations of various highway-rail grade crossings were performed with two vehicle models: a tractor-lowboy and a bus. A range of wheelbases for each vehicle model was tested to determine which vehicles became high-centered on crossings. Based on the results of the TruckSim simulations, a recommended profile for highway-rail grade crossings was recommended.
Three highway-rail grade crossings located in Bellevue, Nebraska were 3D scanned to determine the crossing geometries. The three crossings were chosen due to scrape marks on the crossing surfaces seen with Google Maps Street View. The crossings were simulated and it was determined which wheelbases would cause vehicles to become high-centered.
Keywords train crash, heavy truck, occupant safety, crash safety, railroad grade intersection
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented) Place Any Photos Here See Report.
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated) See Report.
Report http://www.utrgv.edu/railwaysafety/_files/documents/research/operations/utcrs_schmidt_heavy-truck-and-bus-traversability_final-report.pdf
Project Website http://www.utrgv.edu/railwaysafety/research/operations/heavy-trucks-traversability-at-HRGC/index.htm