New approach to level crossing safety wins award

A joint research paper on safety assessment for level crossings has won an international award.

The paper, prepared by KiwiRail senior level crossing engineer, Eddie Cook, and colleagues Shane Turner for Abley and Shaun Bosher from Stantec, documented a wider safety assessment process than what is used under the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM).

The authors outlined the process that KiwiRail has used under its Level Crossing Safety Impact Assessment (LCSIA) process.

In contrast to ALCAM, LCSIA takes into account incident data, the opinion of locomotive engineers, as well as safety impacts created by the surrounding transport network.

The authors argue that the LCSIA process better reflects crash risks at level crossings, since its introduction in 2016.

The importance of taking into account the wider transport network was highlighted to the authors due to an increasing proportion of crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists. The authors attributed this to the construction of cycleways and shared paths alongside railway lines. In addition, when crashes with pedestrians and cyclists do occur, the severity is increased, even if overall injuries and deaths are low, as they are in New Zealand.

The paper won the Best Paper Award at the 2020 Transportation Research board Annual Meeting, attended by 14,000 transport professionals.

“It is gratifying to receive this recognition from our peers,” said Cook.

“Safety is our top priority, and we are always looking to improve the way we do things.”