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The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has deployed a data collection test bed along a rail
corridor in the City of Lincoln. The test bed spans about 2.5 miles along the corridor
which parallels Cornhusker Highway, with the focus placed on the Adams Street
highway rail grade crossing (HRGC). The test bed currently has some data-collecting
capabilities, but the possibility exists that there is additional data that could be useful to
various users of the rail crossings.
To gauge these possible unmet data needs of highway stakeholders, a needs
assessment was carried out by the author. A comprehensive literature review was done to
highlight many HRGC aspects and quantifiable data that are currently available or could
potentially be available to interested highway stakeholders. The results of the literature
review were used to form the framework of the needs assessment, including formulating
questions and topics for the stakeholder discussions. From these discussions, the
adequacy of the current test bed’s ability to meet highway stakeholders’ needs could then
be evaluated. Based on those evaluations some possible strategies could then be
identified for further sensor deployments and other future research along the test bed.
Discussions were conducted with seven highway stakeholders. The results of these
discussions were analyzed and used to identify data commonly available or easily
collected and to identify which of these data were desired by stakeholders. The data
needs, both met and unmet, seemed to follow general trends depending on the type of
The unmet data needs could possibly be provided in the future with various sensors
and equipment. The implementation of any of these recommended treatments along the
test bed could be the basis for future projects to collect, refine, and provide to various
stakeholders additional data better targeted to their needs.