Freight Studies & Initiatives

In 2011, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan established the need to identify and prioritize locations for highway-rail grade crossing separations. This recommendation had been informed both by NIRPC’s regional Freight Study, and by a 2010 freight visioning workshop with stakeholders, which had confirmed highway-rail grade crossing separations as the region’s top freight-related priority. That same year, the NWI Rail Velocity, Information, Safety, Improvement and Opportunity Network (VISION) was organized to identify and prioritize problematic at-grade crossings, and develop an action plan for grade separations.

Rail Crossing Task Force

FRA Blocked Crossing Reporting Site

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. This information will be shared with stakeholders, using it to help facilitate local solutions to blocked crossing issues.

Rail Crossing Task Force Presentations

Freight Studies

Freight Task Force

NIRPC's physical office is currently closed, but NIRPC staff is equipped to handle most matters while working remotely