Driver behaviour and decision making at railway level crossings: an exploratory on-road case study
Crashes at rail level crossings represent a significant problem, both in Australia and worldwide. Advances in driving assessment methods, such as the provision of on-road instrumented test vehicles, now provide researchers with the opportunity to further understand driver behaviour at rail level crossings in ways not previously possible. This paper gives an overview of a recent on-road pilot study of driver behaviour at rail level crossings in which 25 participants drove a pre-determined route, incorporating 4 rail level crossings, using Monash University Accident Research Centre’s instrumented On-Road Test Vehicle (ORTeV). Drivers provided verbal commentary whilst driving the route, and a range of other data were collected, including eye fixations, forward, cockpit and driver video, and vehicle data (speed, braking, steering wheel angle, lane tracking etc). Participants also completed a post trial cognitive task analysis interview. Extracts from the wider analyses are used to examine in depth driver behaviour at one of the rail level crossings encountered during the study. The analysis presented, along with the overall analysis undertaken, gives insight into the driver and wider systems factors that shape behaviour at rail level crossings, and highlights the utility of using a multi-method, instrumented vehicle approach for gathering data regarding driver behaviour in different contexts.