Absolutely, there will be many occasions where the best overall result will involve greater gradients than were there before.And I don't understand why this wasn't explained before when I mentioned gradients, there is nothing obvious about this.
If a level crossing is due for removal, and someone who knows the gradients in the area assumes that the solution that flattens those gradients would be the preferred solution, is this assumption understandable, even if the existing gradients are less than 2%.
The answer to your question here is that your assumption is valid, but less important than you think it is.
The very fact that the policy for level crossing removal projects in Victoria is to set a ruling gradient rather than to prohibit all increased gradients should be enough to show you that your assumption is not of high importance.
The preferred solution will always be the one which does the best job of balancing ALL of the various impacts associated with the project.
At most, the effect of the gradients on railway operations will be one of the factors which are considered as part of the Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis of the various options. It will usually be given a fairly low weighting, thanks to modern traction handling gradients so comfortably.Even so, the idea that increasing gradients that could be flattened would be the way to go does seem hard to believe. Remember, I think in pictures, and also in patterns.
And many others here, possibly even those makers of these decisions, are failing to get pictures that I can clearly see.
The problem is that you are seeing just a small part of the picture, not the whole picture.
To get around the problem of people only having a partial view of the picture, planners use a tool called a Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (or Multi-Criteria Analysis) to analyse the impacts of a project in an objective manner and put forward the best options for adoption. Eliminating bias completely is probably a lost cause in Australia given that final approval of infrastructure projects is often a political decision, so the best that planners can do is to present good recommendations which encourage good decisions.
In the case of the sort of planning study related to a level crossing grade separation project, one particular planning study in SA had the MCA considering the impacts of the construction and operation on 25 different criteria (grouped into four categories) for the four main options - road overpass, rail overpass, road underpass, rail underpass. One of the criteria was the impacts on rail transport, which is where all aspects of the proposed rail line design (including gradients) were discussed.
When reporting the findings of the MCDA, a good pictorial representation (which should help you) of the information is to have it shown it in a table with cells coloured according to the level of impact in each of the criteria - the pages shown below have used no impact or positive impact green, slight negative impact yellow, moderate negative impact orange, high negative impact red. A quick glance is all that's needed to see which option has the most green and which has the most orange/red.
You can also show the overall scores for each of the options on a graph.
Here are a few pages with the results of the MCDA conducted as part of a planning study related to a suburban level crossing grade separation project proposal in SA. I've redacted some information (name of the proposed project, title of the various options) to eliminate bias. Have a look at each of these pages:
1. all criteria - link
2. construction impacts only - link
3. operational (i.e. post-construction) impacts only - link
4. financial criteria only - link
5. financial criteria excluded - link
Having had a look at that, tell me which option you would prefer to go ahead with for that project and why. Once you've given your answer, I'll give you an update on what happened after this planning study was completed.
At the least, the only consideration given to the issue of gradients will be to simply check that each proposed option complies with the relevant standards for the gradients on both the railways and roads where they are to be changed.That does seem like not really taking
Is this an incomplete sentence?
I'm guessing what you meant to write was something along the lines of “That does seem like not really taking the gradients seriously.”
If so, I do agree. But that was exactly the point I was making - simply checking for compliance rather than considering the impact would be an example of the lowest
level of priority given to the rail gradients.
It goes something like this:Absolute priority given to rail gradients- design the whole project around the proposed gradient of the railway line, regardless of what other detrimental outcomes may result from selecting that option
Reasonable priority given to rail gradients - consider the railway gradients as part of a logical process aimed at finding the most satisfactory outcome for all aspects
Minimum practical priority given to rail gradients - check for compliance but otherwise ignore the railway gradients
Would you not agree that the middle option is the most logical approach to take?
This sort of decision requires the ability to see the forest for the trees, i.e. not focus too exclusively on any one part of the whole picture.I'm not sure what this means.
Sorry, I forgot about your difficulties with idioms so I'll explain it.
To see the forest for the trees
means that you can see the whole issue, not just part of it.
To not see the forest for the trees
means that you are focused on one part of an issue and running the risk of getting so overwhelmed by detail that you'll be rendered incapable of understanding other parts of the issue.
The origin of the idiom lies in the world of biology. It is impossible to understand a forest by doing a very detailed study of just one tree, because a forest is a heavily interlinked system. In turn, this means you won't be able to get a full understanding of that tree either, because the growth and health of that tree is influenced by the health of the whole forest.
Or consider this word-picture:
If you are an expert in designing public toilet facilities, you are not qualified to be the lead architect for designing a new school building. You may be engaged by the lead architect to consult on the design of the toilet facilities incorporated into the school, but that will only be one part of the bigger project and you will not be permitted to have any input on designing the classrooms or staff offices.
Going back to a suburban rail project, this means that focusing on the gradients may lead to you being ignorant of other aspects associated with a project. Sound decisions might appear to be wrong (or 'biased') to you because you have only considered the gradients and not other issues like service relocation, Austroads standards, usage of public space, community severance etc.
A key part of exercising intelligence is knowing what you don't know. You certainly know way more about the gradient profiles of railways in the Melbourne metropolitan area than I do, so I would never question you on that. Have a look through all my posts, I have never questioned the accuracy of your knowledge in that area.
In turn, I am confident that I am one of many forum members who know significantly more about modern railway operations and public planning processes than you do, and I am sure I would not be alone in appreciating it if you started adopting a more respectful and open attitude to others when they answer questions you have about areas where you have less knowledge. Deal?