R2.116 SPAD Management and Risk Mitigation

This project will undertake scoping and industry consultation to determine how signal passed at danger (SPAD) events are currently managed and mitigated in Australian rail operations. A SPAD event describes a situation where the safe working of the driver-train system has broken down to represent a high-risk failure mode in railway operations. Whilst SPAD risk is somewhat mitigated by the use of very specific onboard train protection and trackside equipment, Australia’s industry-wide differences in rail operations and piece-meal implementation of these devices prohibits the feasibility of an interoperable engineering solution. As a fundamental human error of omission or commission in the train driving task, the nature of SPAD events advocate the use of a human factors-based approach to identify the underlying issues substantive to the problem. The aim of this initial scoping and consultation project is to establish how SPAD risk is currently being mitigated in different rail contexts with a view to exploring these strategies and evaluating the efficacy of further research.