Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

Pasi T. Lautala

Committee Member 1

William J. Sproule

Committee Member 2

Myounghoon "Philart" Jeon


Although the total number of highway-railroad grade crossing (HRGC) accidents has significantly decreased in recent decades, they remain as one of the highest causes of injuries and fatalities in rail transportation. It is known that driver behavior is the leading cause for accidents at HRGCs, but there is less understanding on the reason for these inappropriate behaviors. This research uses the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP 2 NDS) data and a behavior scoring methodology developed at Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech), to evaluate driver behavior when traversing HRGCs. More specifically, it uses a two-sample t-test to determine whether there is a statistically significant difference in driver behavior based on weather condition, driver demographics (gender and age) and time of day. It also further divides the HRGCs to three subgroups based on the traffic control devices (TCD) and performs similar analysis for each subgroup.

The research has identified that while statistically significant differences were absent in majority of the tested scenarios, they do exist between some of the compared categories. Especially, both male and female drivers received lower behavior scores during the night compared to the day and female drivers received lower behavior scores under rain and higher behavior scores in snow condition. In contrast to the researcher’s expectation, the data did not show any significant difference in average behavior scores of male versus female drivers. When considering the impact of TCD types on driver behavior, it was found that except for the “snow” condition, there was very little variability between behavior scores under various weather conditions.