INFRASTRUCTURE COUNTERMEASURES: KEEPING VICTORIA ON TRACK
Collisions between trains and road vehicles, although rare, can have catastrophic consequences. In particular, where high speed roads meet rail lines there is potential for tragic outcomes as evidenced by the deaths of 11 people on 5 June 2007 at Kerang in Victoria’s North West.
Victoria has close to 2000 railway level crossings of which over half are controlled with only stop signs or give way signs. The cost of upgrading all these crossings to active control (boom barriers and flashing lights) is in excess of $300 million. Thus, there is a need for low cost methods of alerting drivers to the presence of a railway level crossing.
The Victorian Railway Level Crossing Safety Steering Committee asked VicRoads to investigate a number of lower cost level crossing warning devices. These included Active Advanced Warning Signs (AAWS), rumble strips and speed limit reductions on the approaches to crossings on high speed roads.
VicRoads has conducted before-and-after studies on the effectiveness of rumble strips, AAWS and speed limit reductions at railway level crossings. The results of these studies are contributing to a guide for treatments at railway level crossings. This guide will identify situations where specific treatments would be effective and estimate crash risk reductions that would be achieved with different treatment. The guide will assist those developing programs for treatment of railway level crossings to compare potential countermeasures in cost effectiveness terms.