Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
An analysis of highway-rail grade crossings on the Federal-aid highway system by the Federal Railroad Administration finds that all categories of highway users could face delay costs of up to $8.8 billion at grade crossings over the next 20 years. Auto users could spend 86.5 million more hours delayed at crossings and truckers could log an additional 10.7 million hours behind closed gates in 2024, compared with 2004. Bus delay could increase by 8.9 million hours over the next 20 years.
An estimated $250 million annual investment in grade separation over the next 20 years could maintain highway user costs at grade crossings at 2004 levels. A projected annual investment of $400 million would be sufficient to separate all grade crossings on the Federal-aid highway system where estimated highway user costs exceed capital investment requirements.
These two investment levels are comparable to the "Maintain User Costs" and "Maximum Economic Investment" scenarios for highways discussed in Chapter 7. Some grade separation improvements also are reflected in the estimates of the "Cost to Maintain Highways and Bridges" and "Cost to Improve Highways and Bridges" scenarios presented in Chapter 7.