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Railroad Crossing Safety

Rail Crossing
As part of its commitment to safety, the N.C. Department of Transportation's Rail Division works through its Crossing Hazard Elimination Program to decrease the number of highway-railroad grade crossing crashes. Through this program, the Rail Division has pursued safety initiatives including the installation of active warning devices such as gates with flashing warning lights and bells, grade separations, crossing closures and consolidations where crossings may be redundant or no longer used.

The Crossing Hazard Elimination Program is continuing and ongoing. Approximately 900 of the nearly 5,000 public crossings using passive warning devices such as stand-alone signs, and the Rail Division continues to signalize crossings without active warning devices where warranted. The division also continues an active program of pursuing crossing closures or consolidations at redundant crossings or those no longer in use, as well as grade separations where feasible, ​as part of its mission to improve safety at crossings.​

*Many factors such as train and traffic volumes as well as existing safety devices influence how NCDOT determines and prioritizes what crossings are eligible for safety upgrades.

​North Carolina's Train Crossings

As shown on the table below, in April 2020 there were 4,940 public railroad crossings open to vehicular and/or pedestrian travel in North Carolina. Of those, 2,595 have some type of active warning device, and 915 have passive warning devices. Additionally, 324 crossings are not in use and 1,106 crossings are separated from the vehicular traffic, usually by a bridge, decreasing the potential of train-vehicular collisions.

Safety Devices at N.C. Railroad Crossings

​Safety Device

Percent of At-Grade Public Crossings​

Flashing light signals with gates and bell​



Flashing light signals with bells (no gates)​



Pre-empted highway traffic signals without standard railroad signals​



Railroad crossing signs (crossbucks with either a STOP or YIELD sign) or nothing



 * Available funding is applied only after feasible projects are identified and approved by appropriate state, local, and railroad authorities.

4/17/2020 9:52 AM