49 CFR Part 222, Appendix B to Part 222 - Alternative Safety Measures

View PDF at GPO Pt. 222, App. B
Appendix B to Part 222—Alternative Safety Measures
Introduction
A public authority seeking approval of a quiet zone under public authority application to FRA (§ 222.39(b)) may include ASMs listed in this appendix in its proposal. This appendix addresses three types of ASMs: Modified SSMs, Non-Engineering ASMs, and Engineering ASMs. Modified SSMs are SSMs that do not fully comply with the provisions listed in appendix A. As provided in section I.B. of this appendix, public authorities can obtain risk reduction credit for pre-existing modified SSMs under the final rule. Non-engineering ASMs consist of programmed enforcement, public education and awareness, and photo enforcement programs that may be used to reduce risk within a quiet zone. Engineering ASMs consist of engineering improvements that address underlying geometric conditions, including sight distance, that are the source of increased risk at crossings.
I. Modified SSMs
A. Requirements and Effectiveness Rates for Modified SSMs
1. If there are unique circumstances pertaining to a specific crossing or number of crossings which prevent SSMs from being fully compliant with all of the SSM requirements listed in appendix A, those SSM requirements may be adjusted or revised. In that case, the SSM, as modified by the public authority, will be treated as an ASM under this appendix B, and not as a SSM under appendix A. After reviewing the estimated safety effect of the modified SSM and the proposed quiet zone, FRA will approve the proposed quiet zone if FRA finds that the Quiet Zone Risk Index will be reduced to a level at or below either the Risk Index With Horns or the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold.
2. The public authority must provide estimates of effectiveness. These estimates may be based upon adjustments from the effectiveness levels provided in appendix A or from actual field data derived from the crossing sites. The specific crossing and applied mitigation measure will be assessed to determine the effectiveness of the modified SSM. FRA will continue to develop and make available effectiveness estimates and data from experience under the final rule.
3. If one or more of the requirements associated with an SSM as listed in appendix A is revised or deleted, data or analysis supporting the revision or deletion must be provided to FRA for review. The following engineering types of ASMs may be included in a proposal for approval by FRA for creation of a quiet zone: (1) Temporary Closure of a Public Highway-Rail Grade Crossing, (2) Four-Quadrant Gate System, (3) Gates With Medians or Channelization Devices, and (4) One-Way Street With Gate(s).
B. Credit for Pre-Existing Modified SSMs in New Quiet Zones and New Partial Quiet Zones
A community that has implemented a pre-existing modified SSM at a public grade crossing can receive risk reduction credit by inflating the Risk Index With Horns as follows:
1. Calculate the current risk index for the grade crossing that is equipped with a pre-existing modified SSM. (See appendix D. FRA's web-based Quiet Zone Calculator may be used to complete this calculation.)
2. Obtain FRA approval of the estimated effectiveness rate for the pre-existing modified SSM. Estimated effectiveness rates may be based upon adjustments from the SSM effectiveness rates provided in appendix A or actual field data derived from crossing sites.
3. Adjust the risk index by accounting for the increased risk that was avoided by implementing the pre-existing modified SSM at the public grade crossing. This adjustment can be made by dividing the risk index by one minus the FRA-approved modified SSM effectiveness rate.
4. Add the current risk indices for the other public grade crossings located within the proposed quiet zone and divide by the number of crossings. The resulting risk index will be the new Risk Index With Horns for the proposed quiet zone.
C. Credit for Pre-Existing Modified SSMs in Pre-Rule Quiet Zones and Pre-Rule Partial Quiet Zones
A community that has implemented a pre-existing modified SSM at a public grade crossing can receive risk reduction credit by inflating the Risk Index With Horns as follows:
1. Calculate the current risk index for the grade crossing that is equipped with a pre-existing modified SSM. (See appendix D. FRA's web-based Quiet Zone Calculator may be used to complete this calculation.)
2. Reduce the current risk index for the grade crossing to reflect the risk reduction that would have been achieved if the locomotive horn was routinely sounded at the crossing. The following list sets forth the estimated risk reduction for certain types of crossings:
a. Risk indices for passive crossings shall be reduced by 43%;
b. Risk indices for grade crossings equipped with automatic flashing lights shall be reduced by 27%; and
c. Risk indices for gated crossings shall be reduced by 40%.
3. Obtain FRA approval of the estimated effectiveness rate for the pre-existing modified SSM. Estimated effectiveness rates may be based upon adjustments from the SSM effectiveness rates provided in appendix A or actual field data derived from crossing sites.
4. Adjust the risk index by accounting for the increased risk that was avoided by implementing the pre-existing modified SSM at the public grade crossing. This adjustment can be made by dividing the risk index by one minus the FRA-approved modified SSM effectiveness rate.
5. Adjust the risk indices for the other crossings that are included in the Pre-Rule Quiet Zone or Pre-Rule Partial Quiet Zone by reducing the current risk index to reflect the risk reduction that would have been achieved if the locomotive horn was routinely sounded at each crossing. Please refer to step two for the list of approved risk reduction percentages by crossing type.
6. Add the new risk indices for each crossing located within the proposed quiet zone and divide by the number of crossings. The resulting risk index will be the new Risk Index With Horns for the quiet zone.
II. Non-Engineering ASMs
A. The following non-engineering ASMs may be used in the creation of a Quiet Zone: (The method for determining the effectiveness of the non-engineering ASMs, the implementation of the quiet zone, subsequent monitoring requirements, and dealing with an unacceptable effectiveness rate is provided in paragraph B.)
1. Programmed Enforcement: Community and law enforcement officials commit to a systematic and measurable crossing monitoring and traffic law enforcement program at the public highway-rail grade crossing, alone or in combination with the Public Education and Awareness ASM.
Required:
a. Subject to audit, a statistically valid baseline violation rate must be established through automated or systematic manual monitoring or sampling at the subject crossing(s); and
b. A law enforcement effort must be defined, established and continued along with continual or regular monitoring that provides a statistically valid violation rate that indicates the effectiveness of the law enforcement effort.
c. The public authority shall retain records pertaining to monitoring and sampling efforts at the grade crossing for a period of not less than five years. These records shall be made available, upon request, to FRA as provided by 49 U.S.C. 20107.
2. Public Education and Awareness: Conduct, alone or in combination with programmed law enforcement, a program of public education and awareness directed at motor vehicle drivers, pedestrians and residents near the railroad to emphasize the risks associated with public highway-rail grade crossings and applicable requirements of state and local traffic laws at those crossings.
Requirements:
a. Subject to audit, a statistically valid baseline violation rate must be established through automated or systematic manual monitoring or sampling at the subject crossing(s); and
b. A sustainable public education and awareness program must be defined, established and continued along with continual or regular monitoring that provides a statistically valid violation rate that indicates the effectiveness of the public education and awareness effort. This program shall be provided and supported primarily through local resources.
c. The public authority shall retain records pertaining to monitoring and sampling efforts at the grade crossing for a period of not less than five years. These records shall be made available, upon request, to FRA as provided by 49 U.S.C. 20107.
3. Photo Enforcement: This ASM entails automated means of gathering valid photographic or video evidence of traffic law violations at a public highway-rail grade crossing together with follow-through by law enforcement and the judiciary.
Requirements:
a. State law authorizing use of photographic or video evidence both to bring charges and sustain the burden of proof that a violation of traffic laws concerning public highway-rail grade crossings has occurred, accompanied by commitment of administrative, law enforcement and judicial officers to enforce the law;
b. Sanction includes sufficient minimum fine (e.g., $100 for a first offense, “points” toward license suspension or revocation) to deter violations;
c. Means to reliably detect violations (e.g., loop detectors, video imaging technology);
d. Photographic or video equipment deployed to capture images sufficient to document the violation (including the face of the driver, if required to charge or convict under state law).
Note:
This does not require that each crossing be continually monitored. The objective of this option is deterrence, which may be accomplished by moving photo/video equipment among several crossing locations, as long as the motorist perceives the strong possibility that a violation will lead to sanctions. Each location must appear identical to the motorist, whether or not surveillance equipment is actually placed there at the particular time. Surveillance equipment should be in place and operating at each crossing at least 25 percent of each calendar quarter.
e. Appropriate integration, testing and maintenance of the system to provide evidence supporting enforcement;
f. Public awareness efforts designed to reinforce photo enforcement and alert motorists to the absence of train horns;
g. Subject to audit, a statistically valid baseline violation rate must be established through automated or systematic manual monitoring or sampling at the subject crossing(s); and
h. A law enforcement effort must be defined, established and continued along with continual or regular monitoring.
i. The public authority shall retain records pertaining to monitoring and sampling efforts at the grade crossing for a period of not less than five years. These records shall be made available, upon request, to FRA as provided by 49 U.S.C. 20107.
B. The effectiveness of an ASM will be determined as follows:
1. Establish the quarterly (three months) baseline violation rates for each crossing in the proposed quiet zone.
a. A violation in this context refers to a motorist not complying with the automatic warning devices at the crossing (not stopping for the flashing lights and driving over the crossing after the gate arms have started to descend, or driving around the lowered gate arms). A violation does not have to result in a traffic citation for the violation to be considered.
b. Violation data may be obtained by any method that can be shown to provide a statistically valid sample. This may include the use of video cameras, other technologies (e.g., inductive loops), or manual observations that capture driver behavior when the automatic warning devices are operating.
c. If data is not collected continuously during the quarter, sufficient detail must be provided in the application in order to validate that the methodology used results in a statistically valid sample. FRA recommends that at least a minimum of 600 samples (one sample equals one gate activation) be collected during the baseline and subsequent quarterly sample periods.
d. The sampling methodology must take measures to avoid biases in their sampling technique. Potential sampling biases could include: Sampling on certain days of the week but not others; sampling during certain times of the day but not others; sampling immediately after implementation of an ASM while the public is still going through an adjustment period; or applying one sample method for the baseline rate and another for the new rate.
e. The baseline violation rate should be expressed as the number of violations per gate activations in order to normalize for unequal gate activations during subsequent data collection periods.
f. All subsequent quarterly violation rate calculations must use the same methodology as stated in this paragraph unless FRA authorizes another methodology.
2. The ASM should then be initiated for each crossing. Train horns are still being sounded during this time period.
3. In the calendar quarter following initiation of the ASM, determine a new quarterly violation rate using the same methodology as in paragraph (1) above.
4. Determine the violation rate reduction for each crossing by the following formula:
Violation rate reduction = (new rate − baseline rate)/baseline rate
5. Determine the effectiveness rate of the ASM for each crossing by multiplying the violation rate reduction by .78.
6. Using the effectiveness rates for each grade crossing treated by an ASM, determine the Quiet Zone Risk Index. If and when the Quiet Zone Risk Index for the proposed quiet zone has been reduced to a level at, or below, the Risk Index With Horns or the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold, the public authority may apply to FRA for approval of the proposed quiet zone. Upon receiving written approval of the quiet zone application from FRA, the public authority may then proceed with notifications and implementation of the quiet zone.
7. Violation rates must be monitored for the next two calendar quarters and every second quarter thereafter. If, after five years from the implementation of the quiet zone, the violation rate for any quarter has never exceeded the violation rate that was used to determine the effectiveness rate that was approved by FRA, violation rates may be monitored for one quarter per year.
8. In the event that the violation rate is ever greater than the violation rate used to determine the effectiveness rate that was approved by FRA, the public authority may continue the quiet zone for another quarter. If, in the second quarter the violation rate is still greater than the rate used to determine the effectiveness rate that was approved by FRA, a new effectiveness rate must be calculated and the Quiet Zone Risk Index re-calculated using the new effectiveness rate. If the new Quiet Zone Risk Index indicates that the ASM no longer fully compensates for the lack of a train horn, or that the risk level is equal to, or exceeds the National Significant Risk Threshold, the procedures for dealing with unacceptable effectiveness after establishment of a quiet zone should be followed.
III. Engineering ASMs
A. Engineering improvements, other than modified SSMs, may be used in the creation of a Quiet Zone. These engineering improvements, which will be treated as ASMs under this appendix, may include improvements that address underlying geometric conditions, including sight distance, that are the source of increased risk at the crossing.
B. The effectiveness of an Engineering ASM will be determined as follows:
1. Establish the quarterly (three months) baseline violation rate for the crossing at which the Engineering ASM will be applied.
a. A violation in this context refers to a motorist not complying with the automatic warning devices at the crossing (not stopping for the flashing lights and driving over the crossing after the gate arms have started to descend, or driving around the lowered gate arms). A violation does not have to result in a traffic citation for the violation to be considered.
b. Violation data may be obtained by any method that can be shown to provide a statistically valid sample. This may include the use of video cameras, other technologies (e.g. inductive loops), or manual observations that capture driver behavior when the automatic warning devices are operating.
c. If data is not collected continuously during the quarter, sufficient detail must be provided in the application in order to validate that the methodology used results in a statistically valid sample. FRA recommends that at least a minimum of 600 samples (one sample equals one gate activation) be collected during the baseline and subsequent quarterly sample periods.
d. The sampling methodology must take measures to avoid biases in their sampling technique. Potential sampling biases could include: Sampling on certain days of the week but not others; sampling during certain times of the day but not others; sampling immediately after implementation of an ASM while the public is still going through an adjustment period; or applying one sample method for the baseline rate and another for the new rate.
e. The baseline violation rate should be expressed as the number of violations per gate activations in order to normalize for unequal gate activations during subsequent data collection periods.
f. All subsequent quarterly violation rate calculations must use the same methodology as stated in this paragraph unless FRA authorizes another methodology.
2. The Engineering ASM should be initiated at the crossing. Train horns are still being sounded during this time period.
3. In the calendar quarter following initiation of the Engineering ASM, determine a new quarterly violation rate using the same methodology as in paragraph (1) above.
4. Determine the violation rate reduction for the crossing by the following formula:
Violation rate reduction = (new rate − baseline rate)/baseline rate
5. Using the Engineering ASM effectiveness rate, determine the Quiet Zone Risk Index. If and when the Quiet Zone Risk Index for the proposed quiet zone has been reduced to a risk level at or below the Risk Index With Horns or the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold, the public authority may apply to FRA for approval of the quiet zone. Upon receiving written approval of the quiet zone application from FRA, the public authority may then proceed with notifications and implementation of the quiet zone.
6. Violation rates must be monitored for the next two calendar quarters. Unless otherwise provided in FRA's notification of quiet zone approval, if the violation rate for these two calendar quarters does not exceed the violation rate that was used to determine the effectiveness rate that was approved by FRA, the public authority can cease violation rate monitoring.
7. In the event that the violation rate over either of the next two calendar quarters are greater than the violation rate used to determine the effectiveness rate that was approved by FRA, the public authority may continue the quiet zone for a third calendar quarter. However, if the third calendar quarter violation rate is also greater than the rate used to determine the effectiveness rate that was approved by FRA, a new effectiveness rate must be calculated and the Quiet Zone Risk Index re-calculated using the new effectiveness rate. If the new Quiet Zone Risk Index exceeds the Risk Index With Horns and the Nationwide Significant Risk Threshold, the procedures for dealing with unacceptable effectiveness after establishment of a quiet zone should be followed.

Title 49 published on 2014-10-01

no entries appear in the Federal Register after this date.