Victoria Active Pedestrian Level Crossing Safety Review
To analyse the challenges, context of use and requirements of a diverse range of user groups on pedestrian rail level crossings and make recommendations for the provision of safety information appropriate to their needs.
Acmena employed a multi-faceted approach, including standards and literature reviews, workshops with various user groups and consultation with subject matter experts.
Acmena has successfully completed the review and has provided the VRCSSC with a range of recommendations that are currently under consideration for trial. Several Victorian rail operators are also considering the solutions as part of a state-wide level crossing upgrade program.
Acmena’s human factors team provides key recommendations to improve pedestrian safety on level crossings in Victoria.
As part of an on-going effort to improve safety at level crossings, the Victorian Railway Crossing Safety Steering Committee (VRCSSC) Human Factors Group has identified the need to better understand the information required by pedestrians to safely navigate rail level crossings.
In 2020, Acmena was engaged to analyse the issue and provide recommendations through a review of potential users and the various ways they might use a crossing.
Focusing on user needs
As part of a multi-faceted approach, Acmena combined a review of relevant standards and literature, along with various approaches used in other states, countries, and transport domains, while consulting with subject matter experts (SMEs). Acmena also conducted a series of workshops with various user groups, including those with lived experience of a range of disabilities, to identify challenges and potential solutions in addition to obtaining feedback and further input on selected solutions.
Through these activities, Acmena was able to identify a wide range of users, the context of their usage and corresponding requirements. By categorising them in terms of their ability to see, hear, feel and/or understand information, make decisions, or navigate the level crossing, it was found that a wide range of users face similar challenges. Solutions considered for one group of users could therefore benefit a wide range of users, which helps to make a business case for change.
Acmena identified a list of recommendations to improve the visibility of the crossing infrastructure and pathways, including providing information both at ground- and eye-level. The provision of real-time information regarding accessibility and train movements to enable better decision making was also recommended, in addition to supplementing visual signage with other sensory information such as tactile maps and audible beacons. Making crossings easier to navigate by improving the quality and width of the gates and pathways was also recommended, as was the provision of level crossing orientation sessions for user groups.
Acmena’s solutions accepted for trial
The SMEs and users consulted during the review felt Acmena’s solutions were comprehensive, fair and addressed the identified challenges. The VRCSSC Technical Group will now in collaboration with the Human Factors Group consider which of these solutions will be prioritised for trials. Victorian rail operators are also considering some of the solutions as part of the state-wide level crossing upgrade program.