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Director's Office
Municipal Plaza Building
114 W. Commerce
San Antonio, Texas 78205
Main Line: (210) 207-8022
Fax: (210) 207-4406


Railroad Quiet Zones

A quiet zone is sections of a railroad corridor where train crews do not routinely sound the horn at railroad crossings. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) provides the requirements necessary to establish Quiet Zones. The railroad segments will qualify for Quiet Zone designation if crossing safety improvements are implemented, such as crossing closures, one-way conversions, quad gates, medians & signs and pavement markings. Once the construction is completed, the FRA has the ability to approve/disapprove the implementation of the Quiet Zone. The Quiet Zone process, from initiation to establishment, can take 12 to 24 months.

Quiet Zone Establishment Process

  1. Feasibility Study: A Quiet Zone (QZ) study is initiated by Council Office or citizen’s request. A diagnostic team, consisting of Public Works staff, Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) staff, visits QZ crossings to identify safety improvements.
  2. Data Collection: UPRR provides train data (including day trains, night trains, switching trains, train speed, etc.) and PW staff collects daily traffic counts.
  3. Quiet Zone Risk Index (QZRI) Calculation: The collected traffic and train data and proposed safety improvements are entered into the FRA’s QZRI calculator to ensure that QZ can be established.
  4. Identify Funding: Identify an available funding source with City Council recommendation and approval (NAMP, HUD 108, CDBG Funds, etc.)
  5. Complete Design: Design plans are prepared to include the safety improvements and signage and pavement markings modifications.
  6. Notice of Intent (NOI): NOI and design plans are submitted to stakeholders, such as FRA, UPRR, Amtrak, TXDOT, etc. The stakeholders are required to respond within a 60-day timeframe.
  7. Complete Safety Improvement Construction: Current on-call contractor is used to build the geometric and traffic improvements.
  8. Final Inspection: An inspection is done by the diagnostic team to verify the safety improvements.
  9. Notice of Establishment (NOE): NOE application and as-built plans are submitted to stakeholders, such as FRA, UPRR, Amtrak, TXDOT, etc. The stakeholders are required to respond within a 30-day timeframe.
Quiet Zones

Established Quiet Zones

  • District 8 Quiet Zone:
    Established on January 19, 2009
  • District 2 Quiet Zone:
    Established on March 27, 2009
  • District 10 Longhorn Spur Quiet Zone:
    Established on July 1, 2011
  • District 1/District 9 Quiet Zone:
    Established on August 31, 2011
  • District 10 Austin #2 Quiet Zone:
    Established on August 31, 2011
  • District 5 Brady Quiet Zone:
    Established on November 15, 2011
  • District 4 Quiet Zone:
    Established on May 30, 2012
  • District 5 Lone Star Rockport Quiet Zone:
    Established in March 2013
  • District 5 Haven for Hope Quiet Zone:
    Established in June 2013
  • District 10 Austin # 1 Quiet Zone:
    Established in July 2013

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