R2.120 Understanding Pedestrian Behaviour at Level Crossings

At present, little is known about the situational and psychological factors that influence pedestrians’ decision making and behaviour at level crossings. Due to the fact that pedestrians are more likely to be severely or fatally injured when struck by a train compared to vehicle drivers, it is critical that we gain a better understanding of the factors leading to these incidents.

This project aims to:
• Provide an in-depth analysis of pedestrians’ decision making processes that contribute to making errors as well as deliberately taking risks on railway crossings (human factors).
• Identify the groups and characteristics of pedestrians most at risk of being struck by a train e.g. school children, males, older pedestrians.
• Examine the situation factors (e.g. signage, gates, red lights) that have the greatest impact on pedestrians’ decision making at crossings.
• Develop a set of recommended strategies to increase pedestrians’ awareness of risks associated with railway crossings and increase compliance with rail crossing rules.

Project Status

Since commencing in January of this year, several key milestones have been achieved including the appointments of supporting postgraduate students.
A review of existing information to determine primary factors influencing pedestrians’ decision making processes is nearing completion and a series of focus groups have been scheduled for the coming months.

Benefits to Industry

The recommendations from this study will provide critical information that will enable the rail industry to more effectively develop strategies to change the behaviour of high-risk pedestrian groups. This will ultimately reduce the occurrences of pedestrian accidents at level crossings.