Rural Heavy Vehicle Drivers

Five male professional drivers completed the rural heavy vehicle drivers’ survey. Four were aged between 25 and 54 years, reportedly drove >4,000 km per week and encountered rail level crossings at least several times a week. The remaining driver was aged 65-74 years, reported driving 600 km per week and encountered rail level crossings with less-than-monthly frequency. Two were from Victoria, two from South Australia and one from Queensland.

Paired comparison analysis revealed that heavy vehicle drivers rated the GPS Average Speed interface highest for compliance, efficiency and preference, whereas the Simple But Strong crossing was ranked first for safety. As with car drivers, the standard passive crossing was ranked last on all the criteria.

All but one driver liked the Simple But Strong design, with the one objector noting he would prefer road markings rather than signs. One driver suggested that, although he liked the design, the reduced speed limits were problematic as many drivers disregard existing 80 km/h limits on similar roads.

Similarly, all but one driver liked the Ecological Interface Design crossing; the driver who disliked it suggested that it was not an improvement over existing designs (the only novel design that this particular driver liked was the Simple But Strong crossing). The other drivers liked the visual markings of the Ecological Interface Design crossing, and two suggested that the mirrors could be particularly useful for crossings where the road and tracks are at unusual angles. However, two of the drivers questioned the expense of installing or maintaining the mirrors, with one suggesting that vandalism could be a problem.

Heavy vehicle drivers were divided regarding the GPS Average Speed interface, with three drivers very enthusiastic about it and two opposed to it. Drivers expressed concerns about cost and feasibility, including those who regarded it positively. For instance, one driver noted that successful implementation would require coordination between rail and road transport authorities, which could be challenging. Another driver suggested the system would need (in their view, unrealistically) detailed information such as train length, to be useful.

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