Level crossings pose a high risk for serious collisions between trains and road vehicles. With almost 1,400 public level crossings in NSW, the need to manage these risks is great.
Level crossing interface agreements
Since January 2012, rail infrastructure managers and road managers have been required to jointly manage risks to safety at road and rail crossings through interface agreements.
The NSW Branch of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) is working with both groups statewide to ensure they are meeting their obligations under the national law by seeking to enter into interface agreements for crossings on public roads as well as underbridges, overbridges and where footpaths or shared paths cross a railway.
The ONRSR (NSW) is also represented on the Level Crossing Strategy Council which develops safety improvement strategies for level crossings.
In addition, input has been provided into a level crossing risk model called the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM). ALCAM is one of the methods used to prioritise which crossings will be upgraded with boom gates and/or flashing lights. The upgrade program is a federal government initiative to improve level crossing safety.
Level crossing human factors investigation
To better understand the causes of level crossing collisions, a checklist for level crossing investigations has been developed.
While primarily designed for investigators, rail transport operators are encouraged to use the sections of the checklist that are relevant to their organisation.
By using the checklist, operators can better identify:
- the contributing factors relating to human performance and behaviour
- possible risk mitigation strategies under their managerial control.