Evaluation of emerging intelligent transport systems to improve safety on level crossings : an overview

Larue, Gregoire S., Kim, Inhi, Buckley, Lisa, Rakotonirainy, Andry, Haworth, Narelle L., & Ferreira, Luis (2014) Evaluation of emerging intelligent transport systems to improve safety on level crossings : an overview. In 2014 Global Level Crossing Symposium, 4-8 August 2014, Urbana, IL. (In Press)


Safety at railway level crossings (RLX) is one part of a wider picture of safety within the whole transport system. Governments, the rail industry and road organisations have used a variety of countermeasures for many years to improve RLX safety. New types of interventions are required in order to reduce the number of crashes and associated social costs at railway crossings. This paper presents the results of a large research program which aimed to assess the effectiveness of emerging Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) interventions, both on-road and in-vehicle based, to improve the safety of car drivers at RLXs in Australia. The three most promising technologies selected from the literature review and focus groups were tested in an advanced driving simulator to provide a detailed assessment of their effects on driver behaviour. The three interventions were:

(i) in-vehicle visual warning using a GPS/smartphone navigation-like system,

(ii) in-vehicle audio warning and;

(iii) on-road intervention known as valet system (warning lights on the road surface activated as a train approaches).

The effects of these technologies on 57 participants were assessed in a systematic approach focusing on the safety of the intervention, effects on the road traffic around the crossings and driver’s acceptance of the technology. Given that the ITS interventions were likely to provide a benefit by improving the driver’s awareness of the crossing status in low visibility conditions, such conditions were investigated through curves in the track before arriving at the crossing. ITS interventions were also expected to improve driver behaviour at crossings with high traffic (blocking back issue), which were also investigated at active crossings. The key findings are:

(i) interventions at passive crossings are likely to provide safety benefits;

(ii) the benefits of ITS interventions on driver behaviour at active crossings are limited;

(iii) the trialled ITS interventions did not show any issues in terms of driver distraction, driver acceptance or traffic delays;

(iv) these interventions are easy to use, do not increase driver workload substantially;

(v) participants’ intention to use the technology is high and;

(vi) participants saw most value in succinct messages about approaching trains as opposed to knowing the RLX locations or the imminence of a collision with a train.

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ID Code: 74595
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Railway level crossings, Intelligent Transport Systems, Safety, Driving and traffic simulations, Acceptance of technology
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > INTERDISCIPLINARY ENGINEERING (091500)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > TECHNOLOGY (100000) > OTHER TECHNOLOGY (109900)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OTHER MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (119900) > Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified (119999)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Division of Research and Commercialisation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 31 Jul 2014 23:16
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2014 11:23

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