The following references assist in the development of rail crossing projects.  Please note that these references may not be entirely consistent with CPUC policy.  CPUC General Orders set the minimum requirements for all crossings in the state.  Contact the CPUC Rail Crossings and Engineering Branch for clarification.

FHWA Crossing Handbook

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) publishes the Grade Crossing Handbook (web or PDF) as a core reference regarding rail crossing safety.

Caltrans Design Standards

The State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) publishes design requirements for design of roadways under state jurisdiction.  Local roadway authorities often use similar standards.

Rail Crossing Engineering Plans

The 2 largest commuter railroads in the state publish excellent plans that include details about ways to design for both vehicular and pedestrian safety at rail crossings.  Please note that CPUC General Orders set the minimum requirements for all crossings in the state, and rail crossing construction or modification must be authorized by CPUC.

Caltrain (Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board)

For grade crossing details, see their Engineering Standards and Design Criteria references.

  • Design Criteria Chapter 7
  • Standard Drawings SD-7000 series

Metrolink (Southern California Regional Rail Authority)

For grade crossing details, see their Engineering and Construction references. 

  • Engineering Standards 4000 series
  • Recommended Design Practices and Standards Manual
  • ES4301 – Traffic Control Work in Vicinity of Highway-Rail Grade Crossing


In 2010 the North Lane Pedestrian Safety Study was completed to assess pedestrian compliance at a crossing in Burlingame, California.  The study evaluates the effectiveness of fencing and channelization in conjunction with automatic gate arms and manual emergency exit swing gates.

Related Programs

Related Divisions