Evaluating cost-effective railway level crossing protection systems

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, ridership - behaviour, mode - rail


railway level crossing, protection systems, multi-criteria analysis, driver behaviour, driving simulator, traffic simulation.


Since improving safety at railway level crossings (RLX) is costly and funds are always limited, it is important to search for cost-effective alternative solutions. There are low-cost innovative RLX-protection systems available worldwide with opportunities for application in Australia, subject to their effectiveness and appropriateness. To date, there is no systematic approach available in Australia to evaluating those systems. This paper sets out a methodology to identify and evaluate suitable technologies in relation to their adoption and adaptation to Australian conditions.

This paper reports on a study which comprises two parts. Firstly, a number of candidate systems were investigated and the engineering requirements were identified. Important criteria for evaluation were identified and each criterion was described and quantified by a performance measure. Multi-criteria analysis technique was adopted to assess the relative merits of the systems. Finally, sensitivity analyses have been performed to short-list priority candidate systems for detailed evaluation.

The future stage of the study will use a traffic simulation approach with behavioural models developed for evaluating the short-listed systems. The tools developed in this study will provide rail authorities and researchers with the means to evaluate RLX-protection systems to improve safety at level crossings.