Railway companies and road authorities share ownership of grade crossings. There are about 14,000 public and 9,000 private grade crossings along 42,600 km of federally-regulated rail lines in Canada. These federally-regulated grade crossings are the focus of the proposed Grade Crossings Regulations.
The public grade crossings involve approximately 1,400 different municipal, provincial, territorial, federal and aboriginal road authorities. Private crossings involve thousands of residential, agricultural, industrial, commercial and recreational paths, trails and roads.
The current act and regulations governing grade crossings are the:
- Railway Safety Act (RSA);
- Railway-Highway Crossing at Grade Regulations;
- Highway Crossings Protective Devices Regulations; and
- Railway Safety Management System Regulations.
Due to the multi-jurisdictional responsibility of grade crossings, it can be complex and difficult for railway companies and road authorities to apply the current requirements, guidelines and manuals of recommended practice. The knowledge and cooperation of both the road authority and the railway company are required to establish an adequate safety management plan for a grade crossing.
Extensive consultations have been carried out over many years with railway companies and road authorities.
As a result of these consultations, a draft Grade Crossings Policy and the draft Grade Crossings Standards, which is a document to be incorporated by reference in the Regulations that provides best engineering practices for the oversight of safety at grade crossings, were developed.
However, some concerns with respect to the process and the cost of implementing the Regulations still remained. Transport Canada revised the draft Grade Crossings Policyand Standards to address these concerns as much as possible.
A final round of consultations was conducted nationally to get the public’s and stakeholders’ comments on the revised draft Grade Crossings Policy, prior to drafting the proposed Regulations and pre-publishing them in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
The Grade Crossings Regulations, promulgated under the RSA, would apply to all public and private grade crossings on federally-regulated railways and would aim to bring them all under one common standard.
The proposed Grade Crossings Regulations and the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement were pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on February 8, 2014, for a 90-day comment period.
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