North Carolina Department of Transportation
Research & Innovation Summit – 2020

Innovative Data Collection and Analysis of Pedestrian Trespassing Along Railroad Right-of-Ways in North Carolina

Authors: Sarah Searcy, Chris Vaughan, Daniel Coble, Chris Cunningham, and James Poslusny
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The Trespass Problem

  • Trespassing is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in the United States. Nearly half of all railroad fatalities were trespassers and over a quarter of all railroad fatalities were suicides for the five-year period from 2012-2017. Between 2012 and 2017, the annual number of trespassing-related pedestrian fatalities increased 18%, from 725 in 2012 to 858 in 2017.
  • Based on 2018 FRA statistics, North Carolina ranks the 9th state in the nation for pedestrian rail trespass casualties, with 19 deaths and 11 injuries reported for the year.


For questions about this research, contact Sarah Searcy at