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Author Topic: Rail regulator proposes new guidance / level crossing safety decisions  (Read 153 times)
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« on: January 20, 2021, 12:21:55 pm »

From the Office of Rail and Road

Rail regulator proposes new guidance to support better decision making in level crossing safety

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today (20 January) proposed simpler and more accessible guidance on level crossing safety to support the rail industry, traffic authorities and local authorities in their decisions about level crossing safety.

Britain has around 5,800 level crossings on the mainline railway with around another 1,500 on heritage and minor railways, and there has been important progress in safety in recent years.

Draft proposals in the new Principles for managing level crossing safety are designed to improve risk assessments at level crossings and provide practical advice on how to identify and manage risks that affect the safety of people who use them.

The plans move away from the current, more prescriptive document and aims to give industry greater confidence in putting forward innovative designs to reduce risks.

The guidance focuses on the need to consider how level crossings are actually used and encourages a whole system approach by considering the user, railway and highway.

The principles also emphasise the importance of collaboration to remove and manage risks and explains how cost benefit analysis can be used in decision making to allow for consideration of all relevant costs and benefits. Real-life examples will be added to further illustrate good practice.

Proposals have so far been welcomed by industry figures in making it easier to support designers, planners, engineers and those dealing with access and public rights of way matters.

Can anyone suggest what this means in practice?   What defines a "better" decision?

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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2021, 12:31:52 pm »

Perhaps a co-incidence - from The BBC

Highland level crossing where teenagers died to be closed

A railway level crossing which has been the scene of fatalities is to be closed and replaced by a new road bridge.

Two teenagers died at the Delny crossing near Barbaraville in Easter Ross in February 2007.

Paul Oliver and Alan Thain, both 17, were passengers in a car which collided with a train.

Network Rail's plans for the crossing have been recommended for approval by Highland Council officials.

The local authority's north planning applications committee will consider the proposals at a meeting next week.

Safety measures were previously added to the site, but Network Rail said it continued to present a "significant risk" to trains and people using the crossing.

Since 2010, the company has been working through a programme of reducing risk at level crossings, including closing more than 1,000 sites.

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2021, 02:28:56 pm »

If it were aimed at users of level crossings (drivers, pedestrians and so on), better decisions would presumably be ones that results in the decision to cross only when safe to do so but doesn't reject too many safe options by being excessively cautious.

As it's aimed at the people in charge of level crossings, I think better decisions would be those that help all users make better decisions, again without incurring unnecessary cost, delay or engineering, either to users or authorities.

So for instance bringing barriers down earlier might seem to be safer but in some cases might result in misuse by encouraging users to duck under or drive through the barriers as they come down in order to avoid what the users perceive as excessive waiting time. Or the farm crossings, mentioned somewhere on this forum, at which there was a red or green light in advance of the barrier; this was meant to indicate the barrier was locked or unlocked not that it was safe to cross, but inevitably users took the green light as meaning safe to cross. A bad decision because it did not consider how the users would apply their own risk assessment.

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