R3.111 New Affordable level crossings protection systems for crossings in regional areas and occupational crossings in areas with high speed passenger trains

Background

Railway level crossing crashes are one of the most serious safety issues faced by the rail industry in Australia. There are more then 9,400 public railway level crossings in Australia, of which approximately 2,650 (30%) have 'active' protection, 6,060 have 'passive' protection and the remainder have other control or protection. The major limitation of providing active level crossing protection is the high cost of providing track-circuit-based boom gate systems. Increasing the affordability and cost-effectiveness of level crossing protection will allow a greater number of sites to be protected.

Objective

This project will examine new technology options for level crossings that are cheaper to install and maintain than current systems. Combinations of non-vital technology such as GPS will be considered in conjunction with vital systems and human factor system elements. The project will address the safety vitality issues associated with signalling principles design.

Outcomes

The project will exclude non-starters and avoid replicating existing products already tested in Australia and overseas. The deliverables will be in the form of an evaluation of applicability of candidate systems and recommendation of a prototype for further evaluation.

Benefits

The industry-wide benefits of this project have been estimated at 10 percent reduction in collisions. It should be noted that the real savings are difficult to assess as it is difficult to place an accurate value on the lives potentially saved and property protected from the successful completion of this project.