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1/14/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA offers Web-based grade-crossing evaluation tool


On Jan. 13, Federal Railroad Administration launched GradeDec.Net, a Web-based application tool and database designed to help users conduct cost-benefit analyses of individual or multiple grade crossings targeted for improvements.


Accessible at http://GradeDec.Net, the online tool provides access to National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Inventory, and U.S. Department of Transportation Accident Prediction and Severity Model databases and statistical models.


Users can customize analytical models to reflect regional conditions, obtain dollar values for a range of benefit categories, generate charts, graphs and reports, and save analyses for distribution, reuse and refinement.


The tool also enables users to evaluate expected changes in accident risk, travel-time savings, vehicle operating cost savings and air quality benefits, and account for deviations in grade-crossing maintenance and capital costs.


"Interested parties may now compare the safety, air quality and highway user benefits to the costs of grade-crossing investments online," said FRA Administrator Allan Rutter in a prepared statement.


GradeDec.Net is a revised version of GradeDec, which FRA originally developed in 1998 in consultation with several state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations.


Tested at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, the tool is designed for railroads, and state, local and regional government agencies.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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