The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has established a new, dedicated webpage at www.fra.dot.gov/blockedcrossings, allowing the public and law enforcement to report blocked highway-rail grade crossings. Blocked crossings occur when stopped trains impede the flow of motor vehicle or pedestrian traffic at railroad tracks for extended periods of time. Communities have long dealt with the issue of blocked crossings, and FRA is now seeking broad public input to understand the scope of the problem and engage with affected parties to identify potential solutions.
Blocked crossings pose potential safety risks, specifically in locations where trains routinely hinder roadway and pedestrian movement for extended periods. In these cases, frustrated drivers seeking to avoid extended delays may attempt to clear the crossing before a train arrives, and pedestrians may be tempted to crawl between stopped railcars. Further, blocked crossings can have detrimental effects on quality of life, making people late for work, school, and appointments and possibly contributing to roadway congestion. Currently, there are approximately 130,000 public highway/rail grade crossings in the United States.The new FRA Blocked Crossing website requests specific information from users reporting blocked crossings—including date, time, location, and duration. Filling out the report will likely take about three minutes. FRA will use the information collected to gain a more complete picture of the location, duration, and impact of blocked crossings.