Level Crossing Removals Project - have we seen benefits yet

 
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
A short question but hopefully some longer answers - has there been any clear, measured positive result for this project yet?  Any more train services added to previously constrained lines?  Any measured road disruption reduction that can be mentioned?

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  traintram Beginner

This is a bit of a fav topic of mine, firstly was never about increase in rail traffic, no changes to track, signalling, rollingstock or staff....just a political comment which was never addressed. Traffic is no better in total (I live in Chadstone area) but it has reduced stress levels that you may get stuck at a level xing for 10 minutes just when you are running late.

It was never going to improve traffic as "Traffic" equals the excess of demand for roads against the supply of roads....and the levels crossing neither increased supply or reduced demand. It only flattened everything out, by that I mean in the past when I was stuck at a xing it invariably meant traffic on the other side was very light and I caught up some of the minutes lost, a car entering the traffic on the other side gained minutes also so the net result fairly benign.
An example I can give is my daily commute to Northcote which progresses along Malvern rd and I can choose to cross the Glen Waverley line at either Burke Rd (new level crossing removal project) or Tooroonga Road (existing level crossing). I often am better off taking the level xing at Tooroonga as Burke road is just clogged 200m beyond the now vanished crossing. $200m to remove the crossing only induced everyone to use Burke with little change, the big winner of the Burke removal is CityLink with the lights noticeably favoring the entry and exit ramps.  

The big mindset change that needs to happen is the introduction of clearways....everywhere on main roads
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I can't answer from the train point of view, but there is an enormous beneficial effect on road traffic. If you never sat in your car for 5 or 10 minutes while a succession of slow-moving trains trundled across in front of you, the benefits would possibly not be apparent.
Clayton and Springvale in particular, were notoriously bad. Many times, I sat and watched two or three EMU's, a down pass and an up freight.
The example of Burke Road is an interesting one, as are other less-trafficked lines. The crossing removal helps a little, but on the more-used  Dandenong/Gippsland line the level crossings could drive you mad.
  tayser Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
The rail benefits (more services) were always going to be delayed - take the Pakenham/Cranbourne lines, increases in frequencies on those lines were never going to happen until the HCMTs were rolled out and there's billions of other projects on the go to enable that to happen (upgrading overhead, new signalling etc).

$2bil is now going to be spent on Sunbury for the same reason and the real overall benefit - or at least, the biggest shot-in-the-arm won't happen until Melbourne Metro opens which sees capacity increases (or space to increase capacity) cascade across Frankston, Upfield, and Craigieburn at that point.  (Also note the focus on getting level crossings done on those respective lines).

Also, for every station that has been rebuilt, passengers using those stations are already seeing the benefit of upgraded infrastructure.
  Lockie91 Train Controller

Benefits on LXRA project was already hard to measure, as the AG pointed out when a review was done last year. However, the AG was looking at the project as a cost benefit analysis.

The overall benefits are massive each in there own right.

CD9 for example.
9 LX removed
5 State of the art stations
Improved transport connections
Upgrade of decades old rail infrastructure
No frequency constraints
Massive amounts of new community open space.

Some are easer to look at than others.

Has traffic improved? Marginally, the few minutes you've saved are sucked up somewhere else along your journey.

Have track faults reduced? I don't know if the government keeps stats on stuff like this.

It was very well know that additional services could not be added to the line because it would bring the south east to a stand still. You could upgrade headways but you would end up with boom gates down 24/7.

The budget has put aside significant money for additional services across the network, I doubt we will see an increase on the Dandy corridor until MM1. It will take the shine of the governments future ribbon cutting.

I think the biggest and also the hardest to measure is that of the community. New stations and open space. Areas for people to exercise, meet and enjoy. Along with new stations that are more inviting than the dimly lit ones that were there. Study after study has shown that parks make people happy and new stations encourage more people to use them. How do you measure that and how do you measure the benefit of a happier community?
  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria
Benefits on LXRA project was already hard to measure, as the AG pointed out when a review was done last year. However, the AG was looking at the project as a cost benefit analysis.

The overall benefits are massive each in there own right.

CD9 for example.
9 LX removed
5 State of the art stations
Improved transport connections
Upgrade of decades old rail infrastructure
No frequency constraints
Massive amounts of new community open space.

Some are easer to look at than others.

Has traffic improved? Marginally, the few minutes you've saved are sucked up somewhere else along your journey.

Have track faults reduced? I don't know if the government keeps stats on stuff like this.

It was very well know that additional services could not be added to the line because it would bring the south east to a stand still. You could upgrade headways but you would end up with boom gates down 24/7.

The budget has put aside significant money for additional services across the network, I doubt we will see an increase on the Dandy corridor until MM1. It will take the shine of the governments future ribbon cutting.

I think the biggest and also the hardest to measure is that of the community. New stations and open space. Areas for people to exercise, meet and enjoy. Along with new stations that are more inviting than the dimly lit ones that were there. Study after study has shown that parks make people happy and new stations encourage more people to use them. How do you measure that and how do you measure the benefit of a happier community?
Lockie91
Certainly around where I live the removal of the crossings at Main Road and Furlong road St albans and the earlier removal of the 2 crossings on Anderson Road Sunshine and improved traffic flow immeasurably and improved the community "Feel "I think . Not to mention the functional and aesthetic benefits of the vastly improved St Albans , Ginifer and Sunshine stations .
  712M Chief Commissioner

From the perspective of a train passenger from a non-Skyrail station there is not a huge difference from the day to day use. The key benefit from the months of bustitutions would be that there are less disruptions relating to persons being hit by trains and level crossing faults. Renewal of the associated infrastructure has also reduced the frequency of faults however the faults that do occur tend to have a larger impact due to the nature of the design requiring more occupations for minor faults.  

In terms of frequency it has made no difference as there have been no additional derives added during peak times when overcrowding is at its worst. It’s all well and nice to have shiny new stations at Carnegie and Murrumbeena but not much point when passengers have to wait for 2-3 services to depart until one has enough space to squeeze on. The afternoon peaks are much worse as passengers travelling from City Loop stations may be stuck for an extra 20 minutes until the next service travelling the full length of the line has any spare capacity. The remaining Frankston Line services that are still running through the Loop need to be diverted direct ASAP to allow extra Dandenong trains to run. Waiting until MM1 will be too late as the capacity is needed now.
  712M Chief Commissioner

From the perspective of a train passenger from a non-Skyrail station there is not a huge difference from the day to day use. The key benefit from the months of bustitutions would be that there are less disruptions relating to persons being hit by trains and level crossing faults. Renewal of the associated infrastructure has also reduced the frequency of faults however the faults that do occur tend to have a larger impact due to the nature of the design requiring more occupations for minor faults.  

In terms of frequency it has made no difference as there have been no additional derives added during peak times when overcrowding is at its worst. It’s all well and nice to have shiny new stations at Carnegie and Murrumbeena but not much point when passengers have to wait for 2-3 services to depart until one has enough space to squeeze on. The afternoon peaks are much worse as passengers travelling from City Loop stations may be stuck for an extra 20 minutes until the next service travelling the full length of the line has any spare capacity. The remaining Frankston Line services that are still running through the Loop need to be diverted direct ASAP to allow extra Dandenong trains to run. Waiting until MM1 will be too late as the capacity is needed now.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

It only flattened everything out, by that I mean in the past when I was stuck at a xing it invariably meant traffic on the other side was very light and I caught up some of the minutes lost, a car entering the traffic on the other side gained minutes also so the net result fairly benign.
An example I can give is my daily commute to Northcote which progresses along Malvern rd and I can choose to cross the Glen Waverley line at either Burke Rd (new level crossing removal project) or Tooroonga Road (existing level crossing). I often am better off taking the level xing at Tooroonga as Burke road is just clogged 200m beyond the now vanished crossing. $200m to remove the crossing only induced everyone to use Burke with little change, the big winner of the Burke removal is CityLink with the lights noticeably favoring the entry and exit ramps.  
traintram

Generally, I disagree with both of these views, although it took me a while to realise what was going on.

First, light traffic on the other side. At most level crossings it didn't work like that. What actually happened was that when the booms went up, a massive clot of traffic was released. This then got stuck at the first set of traffic lights downstream of the level crossing. Since the cycle at that traffic light didn't change, it would take several traffic light cycles for the clot to work its way through that traffic light. A similar effect would be happening upstream of the level crossing for cars stuck in the traffic. The problem was that the chunkiness of the level crossing meant that a significant throughput of the nearby traffic signals was wasted. So the overall throughput of the road network was considerably lower with the level crossing.

This leads on to the second point. The throughput has increased, but it is clear that the not all traffic has benefited equally. VicRoads and the councils have used the increased throughput to give priority to certain movements. As you yourself have noticed, the traffic entering and exiting the freeway at Burke Road has been prioritised at Gardiner. This particularly noticeable in the southwards direction. At a local intersection a right turn arrow has been added, so that the cycle for traffic coming from where the former level crossing was has a shorter period to get through the intersection.

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