ITE Journal - March 2020 - 16

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Preemption of Traffic Signals Near
Railroad Crossings
Notice of Intent to Consider for Final Adoption as an
ITE Recommended Practice

Shutterstock/GJones Creative

The final version of Preemption of Traffic Signals Near Railroad Crossings (RP-025D) is moving
for final adoption by the ITE International Board of Direction. ITE made the recommended
practice available on March 20, 2020 for review and will submit the recommended practice for
adoption as of April 30, 2020 if no appeals are received. In response to the comments received
on the proposed version of the document, the report has been revised to:
*	 Modify the approach for passive crossing evaluation;
*	 Expand discussion of simultaneous versus advance preemption operation;
*	 Clarify aspects of upstream versus downstream pre-signal location, and the use of
pre-signals and overhead flashing-light signals;
*	 Expand discussion of advance pedestrian preemption;
*	 Supplement discussion on the maximum preemption timer;
*	 Modify text regarding motion-sensing detection circuits;
*	 Clarify interconnection types relative to current standards;
*	 Modify definitions of certain terms and their use in the report, including terms such as
right-of-way; right-of-way transfer time; and constant warning time to be consistent with
other relevant recently adopted practice;
*	 Emphasize the role of the railroad signal engineer on the diagnostic team; and
*	 Include updated figures as well as other technical and editorial revisions to improve
readability and clarity.

Purpose and Intended Use

Availability
The recommended practice
Preemption of Traffic Signals Near
Railroad Crossings (RP-025D) is
now available. A version of the full
report will be available for review
by request by sending an email to
PTSRRXings-RP@ite.org.
16

Ma rch 2020

ite j o u rn al

Where a signalized intersection exists in close proximity to a railroad crossing-and either
queues from the intersection impact the crossing, or queues from the crossing impact the intersection-the railroad signal control equipment and the highway traffic signal control equipment
should be interconnected. The normal operation of the traffic signals controlling the intersection
should be preempted to operate in a special control mode when trains are approaching. While
public agencies have practices or procedures on the preemption of traffic signals near railroad
grade crossings, there have been significant advances in engineering and technology since the
last edition in 2006. The goal of the recommended practice is to reflect the current state-ofthe-practice and to provide the user with a broad overview of key considerations. The report is
written primarily for engineers working for public agencies, railroads, and public transit agencies
engaged in signal design and operational timing. ITE's intent for the recommended practice is to
reflect a balance between sound engineering theory and practical application.

The Recommended Practice
The report includes new information on the design and operation of traffic signal preemption
that has been developed since the previous edition was published, including:
*	 The concept and the function of diagnostic teams.
*	 Explanation of the critical factor for determining the need for preemption is not the distance to the crossing, but the likelihood that a traffic queue will extend onto the tracks,
regardless of distance. Additional methods for estimating queue lengths are provided.



ITE Journal - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - March 2020

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