Evaluating Financing Mechanisms and Economic Benefits to Fund Grade Separation Projects

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has jurisdiction over the safety of highway-rail crossings in California. In order to mitigate hazards for at-grade crossings, CPUC’s Rail Crossings and Engineering Branch (RCEB) recommends safety measures and reviews projects for the safe design of crossings. Grade separation of crossings is considered ultimate safety improvement strategy, wherein complete separation of the railroad tracks from the roadway occurs through construction of a grade-separation structure such as a bridge. However, grade separation projects are expensive, especially, if they are in dense urban locations. At the same time, not all aspects of economic benefits are assessed that results from grade separation. Large-scale investment of public funds is often involved in these grade separation projects, which require alternative source of financing through some sustainable means. A more realistic approach is needed to assist decision makers on determining benefits (and costs) associated with grade separation. Innovative funding mechanisms need to be explored for funding a grade separation project. As a first step, an assessment of benefit-to-cost ratio encompassing all aspects of benefits, including real estate value increase, and costs associated with grade separation would be very helpful. The goal of this project is to explore the potential of financing grade separation projects in California due to resulting real estate value increase and other directly identified benefits.

Principal Investigator: 

Shailesh Chandra, Ph.D.

PI Contact Information: 

shailesh.chandra@csulb.edu
California State University, Long Beach

Project Number: 

1926