Although accidents at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings (HRGCs) have been greatly reduced over the past decades, they continue to be a major problem for the rail industry, causing injuries, loss of life, and loss of revenue. Recently, the Strategic Highway Research Program sponsored a Naturalistic Driving Study, the SHRP2 NDS, which produced a unique opportunity to look at how drivers behave while traversing HRGCs. This research deviates from previous studies by concentrating on day-to-day actions of drivers who traverse the HRGCs without an incident, instead of focusing on the accident events that have formed the foundation most earlier studies. This paper will focus on the effects of the external environment, weather and day/night conditions, on driver behavior at HRGCs. We will present the methodology and data used for the study and provide some early results from the analysis, such as differences in compliance during poor versus clear weather. We will use both a compliance score based on scanning and speed reduction and an analysis of brake and gas pedal usage during the approach to a HRGC. The paper will conclude with a brief discussion of future research concepts.

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