Sam the Centipede wrote: ↑
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:01 pm
Crossings: to get separated crossing (bridges for the trains or the road vehicles), it really helps to have a slightly lumpy country. Lumpy enough that it's easy to have above the other, but not so lumpy that it's difficult to build railroads in the first place (coz trains don't like hills, no sir!).
The Netherlands and Denmark have significant numbers of level crossings, because everything (roads, rails, houses, fields, etc.) is all at the uniform ground level.
For slightly lumpier countries (France, Britain, Germany ... well, almost everywhere else), often the railroad tracks are not at the natural ground level at any point because they're at an average flat level, so slighly higher (on an embankment) or lower (in a cutting) than where roads go, so it's easy to route the road under or over the track by choosing an appropriate crossing point.
Back in the day when cities/states felt they could insist that railroads spend money on infrastructure to keep the people safe, or even spending town money on safety, they had grade separated many of the tracks in Chicago, usually by running them on an raised embankment. So they would not separate the community with a big hill cutting through town, Winnetka (Chicago area north shore) had the tracks lowered into a trench, so all of the roads are still level.
It is much harder to do this now, so there is a group called CREATE that helps plan and execute grade separation projects (and other projects to relieve the rail traffic choke points in the giant choke point that is Chicago). These are paid for by a mix of federal, state, and local government funds, along with funds from the private railroads. Unfortunately, there are limited funds so the grade separations are usually used on the most pressing areas due to safety, or places where the train traffic causes heavy auto traffic backups.
Grade separations are not perfect either as some truck drivers don't pay attention to bridge heights.