Analysis and Mitigation of Safety Issues at Curbside Tram Stops

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - stop, mode - tram/light rail, place - australasia, planning - safety/accidents


tram stops, safety issues, Australia, accident rates


This research examines safety issues at curbside tram stops in Melbourne, Australia. Tram passengers wait on the curb and access trams arriving in the middle of the road by walking across unprotected traffic lanes. Auto traffic rules say stop when trams do but are the only protections for tram passengers crossing at curbside stops. Melbourne has 1,785 curbside tram stops (61% of all stops), including local, arterial, interchange, and terminus stops, with various risk exposures. Previous research identifies the curbside tram stop as being more dangerous than other stop designs. Accident data show that from 1999 to 2009 between 38 and 53 pedestrian accidents occurred near tram stops each year (no trend). Ridership growth means that accident rates per rider have fallen 50% in 10 years. Most accidents are not serious; however, one fatality occurs triennially (all involve individuals aged 55 years or older). A high share of accidents involves children and teenagers, and 65% occur at curbside stops, with most occurring at terminus and transfer stops. Mitigation measures are developed and evaluated. Overall investment in platform stops, greater separation of passengers at stops, and the use of formal pedestrian crossings are recommended. Barriers and increases in the widths of safety zones are recommended, as is narrowing roads to reduce driver speeds, including the use of general traffic restriction measures and the use of warning signs on trams. Closing curbside stops is also highlighted as a useful measure on all criteria. Overall research demonstrates that curbside stops have inherent safety concerns but that mitigation measures are available at various levels of cost and effectiveness. More research about stop safety in streetcar contexts is needed, and areas for this are suggested.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, copyright remains with them.