This paper examines the usefulness of supplementing railroad preemption operations at highway-rail grade crossings with variable message signs. Using the microscopic traffic simulation model, VISSIM, the effects on grade crossing operations of different train dwell times as well as different levels of driver response to a variable message sign in the vicinity of the crossing are assessed. The results affirm the potential usefulness of variable message signs for preventing lengthy queues and illustrate the importance of explicitly considering the delay experienced by vehicles on the blocked roadway in developing a traffic control strategy for highway-rail grade crossings.

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