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Grade Crossing Electronic Document Management System

Grade Crossing Electronic Document Management System (GCEDMS)

This lead state team has completed all planned activities and is no longer active. See the closeout report or closeout overview for a summary of lead state team accomplishments. The information below, as created by the active lead state team, remains available for review by users seeking additional information.

What are Grade Crossing Electronic Document Management Systems?

example GCEDMS screen 

Grade Crossing Electronic Document Management Systems (GCEDMS) are typically web-based methods of facilitating railroad-related internal communications, electronic document storage, and expedited external communications between the state DOT, public utility commission, railroad companies, and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Railroad companies typically are able to securely submit and view documents through the web that pertain to projects in which they are involved. These systems may allow electronic submission of rail crossing inventory data as required under recently expanded and clarified FRA highway-rail crossing inventory reporting requirements.


Grade Crossing Electronic Document Management Systems (GCEDMS), as have been developed recently by PennDOT and several other states, have proven to be of great benefit in facilitating internal railroad crossing communications and necessary external communications between the state DOT, the Federal Rail Authority (FRA), and railroad companies. Railroad companies are able to securely submit and view documents through the web that pertain to projects in which they are involved. A more detailed listing of benefits made possible by GCEDMS systems is provided below.

  1. Public Safety and Operational Benefits:

    1. Public safety at grade crossings is improved through improved planning data.
    2. Grade crossing locations may be linked to a GIS mapping system using latitude and longitude coordinates.
    3. Aerial imagery and ground photographs of the crossings may be stored in the database, reducing need for travel to crossing sites when limited additional information is necessary in the office.
    4. GCEDMS may be used to generate reports for operational use in decision making.
    5. An electronic system can provide direct links to other references such as the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and the US DOT Web Accident Prediction System (WBAPS).
    6. GCEDMS allows optimization of the distribution of limited highway-rail crossing safety funds so that they are targeted to the highway-rail crossings that pose the greatest risk to loss of human life and collateral property damage.
    7. GCEDMS systems are flexible enough to allow addition of enhancements.
  2. Facilitated Compliance with New Federal Inventory Requirements:

    1. The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA 2008) requires railroad companies and states to regularly update the national inventory file. These systems allow automated submission of inventory updates.
    2. An accurate inventory is required in support of the Emergency Notification System (ENS) for posting toll-free telephone numbers to report problems in emergencies.
  3. Improved National Inventory Information:

    1. GCEDMS systems allow improvement in consistency of data within the national inventory of highway-rail crossings. National inventory information becomes more current and accurate through automated submission of inventory updates.
    2. State data discrepancies are minimized.
    3. State data, railroad data and US DOT National Inventory File data may be are reconciled.
    4. Exchange of data with the FRA and railroads may be is simplified and expedited.
    5. A simplified method of storing and transferring data to and from the FRA may be is provided.
  4. Improved Internal Management Methods and Tools:

    1. GCEDMS is a project management tool that allows for the efficient and effective management, planning, and document storage of railroad crossing project information (Ex. Section 130). Project funding may also be tracked.
    2. Project prioritization and selection processes are facilitated when approving the use of Federal funds for Section 130 projects.
    3. Various railroad forms are immediately available to our railroad business partners.
    4. Facilitated validation and justification of crossing safety programs.
    5. Moving from electronic document storage to data management.
  5. Cost Effectiveness Improvement:

    1. Significantly reduced travel costs to grade crossing sites to make decisions.
    2. This is a move toward becoming a greener public agency. Reduced paper and reduced emissions (from reduced travel).
    3. Reduced legal inquiries if data is made public.
    4. Cost effectiveness of public funding is improved, allowing best use of limited funding.

Contacts – Lead States Team

Jack Hubbard
Maintenance Project Manager
Pennsylvania DOT

Steve Laffey
Railroad Safety Specialist
Illinois Commerce Commission

Michael Wray
Highway-Rail Crossings Safety Program Manager
Virginia DOT

Andrew (Drew) Thomas
Crossing Safety Engineering Manager
North Carolina DOT

Eric Felty
Section Chief - ECMD
Pennsylvania DOT

Tom Woll
Retired - Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

Ric Cruz
Moffatt & Nichol


GCEDMS Library