Rail environment

Research and Projects

New Zealand ALCAM Level Crossing Safety

The Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM) is the primary assessment tool adopted by Australia and New Zealand. 

ALCAM identifies where safety improvements can be made, and has an increased emphasis on prevention.  The public level crossing surveys captured 1244 road and 677 pedestrian level crossings on our roads.  There were an additional 1180 private, 86 heritage and 171 service, road level crossings recorded nationally.

Each survey recorded a number of site conditions including driver viewlines, signage, road markings, number of operational rail tracks, train and vehicle speeds. 

The ALCAM data provides KiwiRail with guidance in identifying site-specific risks and prioritising the program for level crossing major upgrades and low cost improvements. During April 2014 the ALCAM risk reports were distributed to all Road Controlling Authorities and the NZ Transport Agency.  Roading authorities are usually the local Councils who are responsible for roading improvements, although the Transport Agency manages all state highways in New Zealand.

Information about individual level crossings is available for roading authorities and the NZ Transport Agency via the KiwiRail website which is designed as an interactive map that visually displays public and private level crossing locations, features and information. 

The KiwiRail website provides access for the public to private level crossing information and a means for the public to report incidents, damage, vandalism or to make enquiries.  Some layers of information can only be accessed by those parties authorised by KiwiRail and may be password-protected. 

Intelligent Transport Systems

The Centre for Technology Infusion at La Trobe University in Melbourne is developing a new technology-based solution to improve safety at level crossings. 

The $5.5 million three-year project uses Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) - a wireless technology providing vehicles and drivers a 360 degree level of awareness of the surrounding traffic situation. 

The technology establishes wireless communication between trains approaching a level crossing and vehicles approaching the crossing. If the system detects the possibility of a collision, a warning message is presented inside the driver's vehicle. 

This video explains more about the project.

Intelligent Transport Systems research and communication technologies are also underway in the USA.  See the US Department of Transportation website.

Advance Warning Signs

A trial is underway in Victoria assessing the effectiveness of new advance warning signs at 53 level crossings.  The electronic signs are triggered by the approach of a train and provide a visible warning to drivers.

Trespass and Suicide Reduction

A new European project aimed at reducing suicide and trespass on the railways was launched in Paris in November 2011.

The "RESTRAIL" project aims to produce a toolkit to mitigate the consequences when an incident occurs.  It will run for 36 months and is being led by infrastructure managers and research centres.

Over 2,700 suicides were recorded on European Union railways in 2009, representing around 66 per cent of all fatalities on the railway system.  (source: Railway Gazette).

More information can be found here.

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Concerns about children’s safety at Tawa crossing

Thursday, April 20, 2017

TrackSAFE NZ is concerned about the behaviour and safety of young people in Tawa at level crossings following a second near miss in four months.  Read more

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