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VTA Light Rail System and Safety Enhancements. MTC Railroad Crossing Seminar May, 21, 2008. Presentation Outline. Overview of VTA Light Rail System. Typical Sections of Existing System. Rail System Safety Review Board. Current Focus Areas. Next Steps. VTA Background.

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Presentation Transcript

VTA Light Rail System

and Safety Enhancements

MTC Railroad Crossing Seminar

May, 21, 2008

presentation outline
Presentation Outline
  • Overview of VTA Light Rail System
  • Typical Sections of Existing System
  • Rail System Safety Review Board
  • Current Focus Areas
  • Next Steps
vta background
VTA Background
  • VTA recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary for introduction of light rail in San Jose
  • VTA operates 42 total miles of light rail in several cities
  • The VTA system includes 62 light rail stations and 21 park & ride lots
  • The current VTA system is the product of a series of light rail extensions
light rail system
Light Rail System

Guadalupe North Line

  • Opened in 1987
  • Median running alignment in residential and commercial areas
  • Semi-exclusive right-of-way

Downtown Transit Mall

  • Opened in 1989
  • Downtown pedestrian mall
  • Shared right-of-way

Light Rail System

Guadalupe South Line

  • Opened in 1992
  • Median running alignment along State Routes 87 and 85
  • Exclusive right-of-way

Tasman West

  • Opened in December 1999
  • Median and side running in residential and commercial areas
  • Semi-exclusive and exclusive right-of-way

Light Rail System

Tasman East/Capitol

  • Opened in June 2004
  • Median running alignment in residential and commercial areas
  • Includes 7,000 feet long aerial structure
  • Exclusive and semi-exclusive r/w


  • Opened in October 2005
  • Median and side running residential and commercial
  • Includes tunnel at Diridon
  • Exclusive and semi- exclusive right- of-way

Future Extension- Light Rail System

Capitol Expressway Light Rail

  • 3-mile extension along Capitol Expressway (three stations & transit center)
  • Transitions current 8-lane expressway to 6-lane multi-modal boulevard
  • Aerial structure with POC at elevated Station
typical sections
Typical Sections

Median Running – Semi Exclusive

  • Header wall between track and roadway
  • At-grade crossings at intersections with traffic signal control
  • LRT priority for traffic operations
typical sections1
Typical Sections

Downtown Pedestrian Mall – Non Exclusive (shared)

  • Mixed LRT and pedestrian traffic
  • Dedicated auto and bus lanes adjacent to light rail
  • At-grade light rail crossings with traffic signals at intersections
  • Low speed light rail operations
typical sections2
Typical Sections

Freeway Median - Exclusive

  • Continuous concrete barrier and fence between light rail and automobiles
  • Train signaling for light rail operations (ABS)
  • Grade separated crossings for automobiles and pedestrians
typical sections3
Typical Sections

Aerial Structure and Tunnel - Exclusive

  • Grade separated crossings for automobiles and pedestrians
  • Train signaling for light rail operations (ABS)
typical sections4
Typical Sections

Side Running – Exclusive

  • Crossing gates and flashers at intersections
  • Fence barrier between traffic and light rail
  • At grade crossings with LRT priority for traffic signals
  • Train signals for light rail operations (ABS)

VTA Safety Review Board

  • Rail System Safety Review Board (RSSRB)
    • Reviews and approves safety issues
    • related to light rail
    • Includes VTA staff members from all departments
    • CPUC staff participates in RSSRB meetings
    • Responsible to monitor safety of the system
    • Identifies opportunities to enhance safety

Focus Areas

  • VTA has been evaluating intersections based on number and type of incidents.
  • Two main areas of focus to enhance system safety:
    • Left turn incident
    • Track intrusion


Left turn incident



Track intrusion



  • Conducted Analysis
  • Formed work group
  • Obtained incident reports and records
  • Reviewed witness statements
  • Visited incident locations
  • Developed Findings
  • Identified primary cause of incidents
  • Searched for common links between incidents
  • Proposed recommendations


  • Left Turn Incidents
  • Incidents mainly from drivers from local area
  • However, caused from drivers lack of attention
  • Track Intrusion
  • Driver not distinguish track from roadway
  • Track flush with road
  • Drivers did not notice low track curb


  • Left Turn Incidents
  • Relocation of limit lines
  • Install signage “ Stop Here on Red”
  • Enhance pavement marking
  • Public education and operators training
  • Track Intrusion
  • Install bollards (markers) with reflective striping and markers
  • Install bright reflective signage
  • Public education and operators training

Mitigation Examples

  • Karina Court/First Street
  • Relocate limit lines
  • Install pavement marking
  • Replace active train approaching sign with two flashing messages.
  • Install signage and modify traffic loops

Mitigation Examples

  • First Street/Tasman Drive
  • Clearly delineate ROW, installing bollards and painting curb
  • Install striping
  • Install signage

Next Steps

  • Complete design
  • Coordinate with CPUC and jurisdictions
  • Construct improvements
  • Monitor intersections after construction