UK: Research into the causes of pedestrian accidents at level crossings and potential solutions

30 Sep

LXinfoImage372-newRSSBlogo-sourceRSSBThe Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has released a report examining the causes of pedestrian accidents at all types of level crossings and researching both novel and established solutions that are reasonably practicable. The work was undertaken by A D Little and funded within the RSSB managed research programme.

On average, in Great Britain, there have been six pedestrian fatalities at level crossings on Network Rail infrastructure annually over the past ten years.  This project, originally sponsored by the Road Rail Interface Safety Group (now the Level Crossing Strategy Group), focused exclusively on pedestrians and what can be done to reduce pedestrian fatalities at all types of level crossings.

All RSSB level crossing research has included pedestrians but no project has concentrated exclusively on this large group of users. The project aimed to establish the underlying and generic causes of pedestrian fatalities, understand the reasons why they occur, and examine solutions both existing and novel. It allows the industry to determine if there is anything further to be done to reduce risk to pedestrians at level crossings using the ‘as low as reasonably practicable’ (ALARP) principle, and if so, to focus the industry’s efforts in the most promising cost-effective areas to reduce risk.

Indicative cost-benefit analysis has been used to highlight in broad terms whether each candidate option to reduce risk is likely to be affordable at all crossings, or the top 10% to 20% of highest risk. Amongst the most promising options assessed for this research are: to demarcate a ‘danger zone’ at passive crossings with a single block of yellow colour, and to improve auditory alarms at active crossings. These and others are currently being considered by Network Rail.

A separate report on the investigation of decision points (where pedestrians are meant to make the decision to cross), which explains the concept of the danger zone, was completed and published in December 2013.

The newly released report is lodged within RSSB’s SPARK (Sharing Portal for Access to Rail Knowledge) domain under reference T984. To access SPARK follow the websites link from the RSSB home page (


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