FRA Launches New Website to Report Blocked Grade Crossings

A work train passes through Duluth, Ga., on Feb. 5, 2019. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has launched a new website where the public and law enforcement can report blocked highway-rail grade crossings.

Communities have long dealt with the issue of blocked crossings, and now the federal agency is seeking broad public input to better understand the scope of the problem and engage with affected parties to identify potential solutions.

Blocked crossings, which occur when stopped trains impede the flow of motor vehicle or pedestrian traffic at railroad tracks for extended periods, pose potential safety risks. Frustrated drivers may attempt to clear the crossing before a train arrives, while pedestrians may be tempted to crawl between stopped railcars.

“Railroads, states and local jurisdictions are best positioned to address blocked highway-rail grade crossings and I’ve asked them to work together to minimize unwanted impacts,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said in a news release. “FRA expects that collecting this data will help us identify where chronic problems exist and better assess the underlying causes and overall impacts of blocked crossings — locally, regionally and nationwide.”

The new FRA Blocked Crossing webpage requests users reporting blocked crossings to include the date, time, location and duration.

The agency expects it will take an average of 3 minutes for users to complete the report. Federal officials encourage people to complete the form in a manner consistent with the safe operation of a vehicle.