NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


April 16, 1997

Washington, DC - The safety of passive grade crossings, where railroads and highways meet without gates or warning lights, will be the topic of a one-and-a-half-day public forum May 8th and 9th in Jacksonville, Florida, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced.

The Safety Board is hosting this forum to facilitate the sharing of information on passive grade crossing safety across the lines of government, industry, safety organizations, and private citizens. This information exchange will address the need for new and innovative directions to achieve increased levels of safety as the nation moves into the 21st century.

The Safety Board will use the information obtained during the public forum to determine if additional safety recommendations are needed to enhance passive grade crossing safety.

"Grade crossing safety is a major concern of the Safety Board," said NTSB Vice Chairman Robert Francis. "Every 90 minutes a vehicle and train collide in this country, with half of these accidents occurring at passive crossings. We hope this exchange of information will lead to positive action on this issue," he added. Francis will preside over a board of inquiry of senior NTSB officials and investigators.

The issues to be discussed at the hearing include:

Communication between railroad and highway officials.

Federal responsibility for grade crossing safety.

Federal, state, and local authority.

Responsibility for safety at private grade crossings.

How to educate the traveling public.

New and innovative low-cost solutions.

Passive grade crossing closures.

How other countries address grade crossing safety.



The forum will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 8, at the Jacksonville Hilton Hotel, 1201 Riverplace Boulevard, Jacksonville. A special room rate of $110 plus tax is available for a limited time. Reservations made through April 24, 1997, will be accepted for the special rate on a space and rate availability basis. Telephone 800-445-8667 or 904-398-8800. Be sure to mention that you are attending the Passive Grade Crossing Safety Public Forum to obtain this special rate.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency empowered by Congress to determine the probable cause of transportation accidents and to make recommendations to improve safety.


Media contact: Shelly Hazle (202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.