Queensland Rail's highest priority is safety, and part of this is a key focus on level crossing safety - this is important for our customers, our employees and the communities in which we operate. There is a high risk of serious injury or death from level crossing incidents involving pedestrians or vehicles, which is why we invest heavily in education, engineering upgrades and innovations, and work closely with the police on enforcement.
The number of people who continue to risk their lives at level crossings is alarming, because any near miss is a potential fatality.
All level crossings have some form of protection, including boom gates, flashing lights or signage. It is not only an offence to ignore level crossing protection, but it is simply not worth risking your life.
As a company we are committed to doing everything possible to save lives, but pedestrians and motorists need to play their part and simply follow the rules.
Queensland Rail's objectives towards managing level crossing risk are:
- We are committed to reducing the risks associated with level crossings where reasonably practicable to meet community expectations
- We support the strategies and initiatives of the Australian Transport Council and the Queensland Level Crossing Safety Committee
- We will be party to Safety Interface Agreements with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and local government agencies to take a holistic approach to reducing level crossing risk
- We adopt tools such as the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM) to support and inform decision making processes
- We share the responsibility with road authorities to provide level crossing infrastructure that is aligned to nationally recognised standards
- We will seek to engage local planning authorities to cooperate in securing level crossing improvements in connection with new developments
- We will promote and support all campaigns which increase public awareness of the dangers at level crossings with the objective of improving driver and pedestrian behaviour
- We will encourage and support law enforcement initiatives which aim to improve driver and pedestrian behaviour at level crossings. These include prosecution of offenders who breach road rules and deterrence initiatives such as level crossing cameras, increased police presence at known trouble spots and communicating related fines and penalties
- We will actively promote, lead and participate in research projects which seek to improve level crossing safety
- We respond to changes at level crossing environments (e.g. increased railway operations or increased user frequency) and undertake new assessments, implementing actions as appropriate
- Where possible we seek to close and/or divert level crossings or enhance their safety through the provision of improved safety features/equipment
- Only in exceptional circumstances shall we permit new public crossings to be introduced onto the Queensland Rail network
- We will be a learning organisation, and will openly share our learnings with others.
Queensland Rail's strategy for managing level crossing risk is based on seven key focus areas:
Education - educating crossing users on how to use level crossings safely and correctly, and highlighting the dangers of misuse
Enforcement - taking appropriate action to assist police in identifying those who deliberately endanger others through their actions at level crossings with a view to securing their prosecution
Engineering - requirement that all public level crossings are assessed using the ALCAM process and enhance level crossing safety through means such as closure or additional safety features
Safety Interface Agreements - develop appropriate processes that jointly manage the risks at level crossings with other crossing stakeholders, for example the Department of Transport and Main Roads and local authorities
Operational Excellence - ensuring that Queensland Rail is reviewing train operations to reduce the wait time for road users at level crossings that are closed for excessive amounts of time
Data Analysis - capture and analyse all incidents occurring at level crossings, including human factors performance and reviews
Innovation - lead and participate in continued research in this area through both internal channels and external sources such as the ACRI (Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation).
Queensland Rail has a number of key initiatives to further reduce the likelihood of misuse at level crossings, including:
- In June 2012 Queensland Rail launched its latest public education campaign, crosses, to draw attention to the dangers and potentially serious consequences of taking risks at level crossings. The crosses campaign urges pedestrians and motorists to act safely near trains and tracks through the tagline: “Don't gamble with your life at level crossings”
- Queensland Rail engineers have designed a new safety lock being trialled on pedestrian gates at Murarrie, Geebung, Morayfield, Woodridge and Wynnum Central to prevent people pushing through the unlocked emergency gates
- Level crossing CCTV cameras are installed at Bald Hills, Murarrie, Coopers Plains, Geebung, Coorparoo and Salisbury, as well as at regional level crossings including Cooran, Bowen, Brandon, Cluden and two locations in Cairns
- Trialling new wireless communication and radar train detection technology which could reduce the cost of providing improved level crossing safety
- Assessing and subsequently establishing a list of future crossings for upgrade to flashing lights and boom gates as funding becomes available
- Partnering with the Department of Transport and Main Roads to further enhance the introduction of safety camera technology and automatic infringement issuing
- Collaborate with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and other local authorities to complete Safety Interface Agreements.