Before conducting a study, the NCDOT meets with the municipality or Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to discuss the scope of the work, schedule and other concerns. During this preliminary planning phase all parties agree to make a best faith effort to implement the improvements identified in the TSS.
During the study phase, the engineering consultant collects traffic data for the public rail crossings in the study area. The consultants also take into account the economic impact of the potential closings. A draft of the consultant's recommendations is then submitted to the Rail Division and the public for review and comment. The recommendations are prioritized to include near-term, mid-term and long-term improvements. (See table below for examples of suggested improvements.)
Public hearings are scheduled in each community to give residents a chance to voice opinions about the proposed recommendations. The forums also allow NCDOT to discuss the benefits of enhanced crossing safety.
In the implementation phase, NCDOT officials identify funding for the proposed enhancements (typically 90% are federal funds with a 10% local match). The freight railroads sometimes provide additional resources.
As of May 8, 2008, the NCDOT had closed 131 public rail crossings based on recommendations from various Traffic Separation Studies and corridor diagnostics.
In 2008, work is underway in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Rocky Mount, High Point, Greensboro, and Clayton to implement TSS findings and close the most dangerous crossings.
Contact: Jahmal Pullen, PE