STUDY 1: URBAN DESIGN CONCEPT EVALUATION
The first study compared four urban rail level crossing designs: three novel and one existing standard design. The existing design conformed to contemporary Australian design standards and featured boom barriers, flashing lights and bells (which is the most typical infrastructure configuration for urban rail level crossings in Australia). The three novel design concepts were as follows:
- 1. Comprehensive Risk Control Crossing: This design incorporated several features in addition to the existing standard crossing, including traffic lights, advanced warning signs, in-road studs that light up when warnings are activated, additional signage to discourage queuing on the crossing, rail level crossing attendants to supervise and assist in emergencies, channelised pedestrian fencing and default closed pedestrian gates, and convenience amenities for waiting pedestrians, including a shelter and ticket machines.
- 2. Intelligent Level Crossing: This design featured identical infrastructure to the existing standard, but added an in-vehicle assistive system that provides visual and auditory cues to drivers based on the field of safe travel theory (Gibson and Crooks 1938). A green ‘tongue’ appears along the road representing the safe area of travel ahead. When a train is approaching the rail level crossing, a train icon appears on the display (together with an auditory alert), and a red bar appears showing the limit of the safe travel field.
- 3. Community Courtyard Crossing: This design situated the rail level crossing in a ‘shared space’ with a community courtyard feel, with motorists expected to give way to vulnerable road users. Traditional warnings (boom barriers, flashing lights, bells) were removed and replaced with rail level crossing attendants who supervise and assist in emergencies. Both vehicle and train speeds are reduced to 20 km/h through the shared space.
Full details of the design concepts are provided in Chapter 8. Screen shots from the urban driving simulator drives are shown in Figure 9.1.
FIGURE 9.1 Screen shots depicting the novel urban rail level crossing designs: the Comprehensive Risk Control crossing (top panel); the Intelligent Level Crossing (middle panel); the Community Courtyard crossing (bottom panel).