'Don't play politics with infrastructure': Deadly crossing on list of worst 20

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 15 Sep 2016 13:59
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I am unsure how to comment on this tragedy but feel the need to say something.  Why is politics involved here?  The boom gates were working and sadly the elderly driver drove around the gates and was unfortunately killed.

I am at a loss as to why politics is involved?

'Don't play politics with infrastructure': Deadly crossing on list of worst 20

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  Madjikthise Deputy Commissioner

If a level crossing with working booms, bells and lights is dangerous, then so is every intersection controlled with traffic light and they should all be changed to over/underpass intersections with cloverleaf ramps. Rolling Eyes
  lkernan Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I am at a loss as to why politics is involved?
bevans

The argument is:
Safer crossings in politically sensitive areas are being replaced more urgently than known unsafe crossings in politically stable areas.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I am at a loss as to why politics is involved?

The argument is:
Safer crossings in politically sensitive areas are being replaced more urgently than known unsafe crossings in politically stable areas.
lkernan

Why is the crossing unsafe?
  davesvline Chief Commissioner

Location: 1983-1998
It could be one of the safest level crossings around, but only if you prevent people from being able to drive around boom gates. How do you do that and at what cost??

That aside, whatever the crossings safety rating, its going to be one of two remaining between the city and Ringwood ( the other being on, the other side of Surrey Hills) when Blackburn and Heatherdale get finished.

Personally I think both Surrey Hills and Mont Albert stations should be demolished concurrently and the two remaining crossing's removed by again dropping the line. Just my views, but for another thread I'm sure.

Regards
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
People will make mistakes and sometimes this may cost them a serious injury or their life.  You cannot solution for stupidity nor should the community be forced to fund such edge cases.
  Gauntlet Chief Commissioner

Location:
I suspect that the crossing gets a low safety rating because the only way to cross the tracks on the station side is via an underpass.
If pedestrians can't be bothered going under the rails they might walk on Union Road and get hit by a car.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

People will make mistakes and sometimes this may cost them a serious injury or their life.  You cannot solution for stupidity nor should the community be forced to fund such edge cases.
bevans
Hi Bevans

I totally agree with you.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

1. The early reports that the driver drove around the boom barriers were incorrect. The police are saying that the driver entered the crossing before there was room to exit, and then failed to identify an escape when the booms started.

2. Yes, the driver still broke the law. We don't know yet whether the driver habitually did this, was cut off by another driver, or simply made a mistake because she was having trouble coping with heavy traffic in poor weather.

3. For this reason, accident investigations always look at the whole system. In particular, they always consider whether the system is working with, or fighting against, human nature. It is well known, for example, that rules (e.g. road laws) are the least effective means of controlling hazards. A consistent application of this approach is why railway and airline safety is, now, extremely high.

3. In the UK, level crossings this busy are monitored by CCTV and trains signalled over the crossing only when it has been proved clear. This has always been resisted in Victoria as it means that crossings are closed for even longer than they are currently closed.

4. The 'danger rating' is widely misunderstood. The rating is assigned by an algorithm known as ALCAM. It's a complicated algorithm, but the key components here are the number of trains and the number of road movements over a day. The high rating simply indicates that this is a busy crossing.

5. John Donne wrote nearly 400 years ago "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind". Any death in an accident is a tragedy, and suggesting that the people that died are stupid, and that there is no need to consider changes because of their deaths, is IMO inappropriate.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Troubled level crossings where bad/risky driver behavior exits need to have quadrant gates (this Is the norm on the likes of Deutsche Bahn system)

To mitigate the problem where motorists enter the level crossing during bumper to bumper stop start traffic and the traffic comes to a grinding holt with them stranded In the middle of the crossing.
The second set of gates could be set further back from the railway tracks and have an emergency refuge area In this space.


Regularly listening to traffic reports on the radio, you hear of level crossing gates stuck down at places like Carnegie or Cheltenham and there are reports of motorists driving around the gates !
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Troubled level crossings where bad/risky driver behavior exits need to have quadrant gates (this Is the norm on the likes of Deutsche Bahn system)

To mitigate the problem where motorists enter the level crossing during bumper to bumper stop start traffic and the traffic comes to a grinding holt with them stranded In the middle of the crossing.
The second set of gates could be set further back from the railway tracks and have an emergency refuge area In this space.
Nightfire

The provision of four boom barriers has no benefit in preventing drivers being trapped on level crossings during heavy traffic.

Providing boom barriers covering the exit side of a level crossing is to prevent drivers from zig zagging around closed barriers.

In fact, exit barriers actually increase the risk of drivers getting trapped on crossings. It is generally considered that most drivers caught on a level crossing with the exit booms descending will stay stationary on the crossing rather than driving through the exit barriers. It is for this reason that 1) the exit barriers *always* descend after the entry barriers have fully descended, and 2) these level crossings are always supervised to ensure that the crossing is clear before trains are signalled over them. This supervision was either directly from an adjacent signal box, by CCTV from a supervising signal box, or (in very modern crossings) by lidar.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Let's face it there are just some really dumb people does not matter what you do.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
In fact, exit barriers actually increase the risk of drivers getting trapped on crossings. It is generally considered that most drivers caught on a level crossing with the exit booms descending will stay stationary on the crossing rather than driving through the exit barriers.
historian
If there Is the available space around the crossing, a curving dead end emergency refuge exit could be provided between the tracks and the exit boom gate, where a stranded car could escape to (that would always be clear)
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
1. The early reports that the driver drove around the boom barriers were incorrect. The police are saying that the driver entered the crossing before there was room to exit, and then failed to identify an escape when the booms started.
historian
Don't ever - ever - queue across any kind of intersection. Always make sure there's room for you at the other side when traffic is slow. And if worse comes to worse - be prepared to jump out of your car and run away. It's only a car, you can always get another one but you only have one life.

The other thing the driver could have done would have been to do a U-turn out of the intersection if the gates had already gone down but I guess she had only seconds to spare and didn't know what to do.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Matthew Guy is playing politics by bringing up level crossing removal just after a very nasty collision. Claiming that State Labor is itself playing politics doesn't excuse him. I think it's a tad ghoulish, given the circumstances.

Notwithstanding that, the Union Rd & Mont Albert Rd level crossings need to be removed within the next decade. Box Hill is developing into an eastern suburbs mini-CBD and rail + road traffic is steadily rising.
Rebuilding the Surrey Hills and Mont Albert stations by removing the adjacent level crossings should be done to take advantage of this by plonking down some 'value-capture' development on top of the sunk stations. It's going to upset a lot of the local 'neighbourhood character' warriors but in that area they vote Liberal so there's no real political loss for the Government.

State Labor has a list of 50 level crossings to remove and yes, the ones on the list are very much politically motivated. Perhaps when the first 50 are done these two will make their way into the level crossing removal pipeline.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Some random comments by woodford...................

Mathew Guy is of course playing politics in the worst way!

While John Donne is to some extent correct its in the end not possible or even feasible to anticpate every stupid action someone may take. People MUST take responsibilty for there own actions!

As has already been mentioned you NEVER enter a level crossing if you cannot exit from it, to do so is effectively commiting suicide.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

In my opinion entering a level crossing before the exit is clear is a more complex behaviour than other posters seem to consider.

Observations at my local level crossing suggest that:
  • A small percentage of drivers will enter the level crossing when the exit is blocked by stationary cars.
  • A very large percentage of drivers will enter the level crossing if the traffic is moving, even though they can't tell if they will be able to clear the level crossing. I would go so far as to say that most (>50%) drivers would do this even in heavy traffic.

The fact that most drivers will exhibit the second behaviour suggests that the problem is not *stupidity*, it's to do with how drivers perceive risks.

With the second behaviour, *occasionally* the traffic flow will unexpectedly stop, trapping one or more cars on the crossing. However, *most* of the time this occurs the traffic will restart before the level crossing protection equipment starts.

Drivers consequently learn that this behaviour (driving across a level crossing in a moving stream of traffic) has a low risk. And they are right. What most drivers probably don't consider is that the consequences are high if the risk occurs.

Now, I never drove across my local crossing until I could see enough room on the other side to exit. And I got beeped often enough that it was clear that many other drivers did not understand what I was doing or share my view of the road rules.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
The fact that most drivers will exhibit the second behaviour suggests that the problem is not *stupidity*, it's to do with how drivers perceive risks.
"historian"
In other words, they're stupid.  Victorian roads are absolutely littered with motorists ( I refuse to dignify them with the term "drivers") who trundle along as though nothing can possibly go wrong.
Many of them never learn, including those who block level crossings and intersections, those who tailgate on freeways, those who enter floodwaters and so on. Meanwhile, we concentrate on the nonsense that speed kills, when it is driver incompetence that kills. This will never end until there is a proper, strict learning and testing process before any form of licence is issued. Driving must be the only discipline in the country where the incompetent are permitted to teach the innocent.

Unfortunately, road trauma will also continue while people drive cars when affected by alcohol or drugs, and that's a separate issue.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

A quick fix is to paint a yellow box on the crossing so it is an offence to enter the box unless your exit is clear. Then police it. It won't take many 3 demerits and hundreds of dollar fines to change peoples habits. No excuses, zero tolerance and publicise it. Plenty of crossings have these but they don't appear to be policed. A separate issue where a T junction is nearby is to post the safe length of the pocket for cars with trailers, as trucks get longer this problem is escalating.
  Boss Chief Commissioner

Location: Caulfield Line
A quick fix is to paint a yellow box on the crossing so it is an offence to enter the box unless your exit is clear. Then police it. It won't take many 3 demerits and hundreds of dollar fines to change peoples habits. No excuses, zero tolerance and publicise it. Plenty of crossings have these but they don't appear to be policed. A separate issue where a T junction is nearby is to post the safe length of the pocket for cars with trailers, as trucks get longer this problem is escalating.
62440
Painting a yellow box on the crossing and then policing it will make no difference.At the Malvern tram depot on Glenferrie Road there is a yellow box painted at the entrance to the depot with signs say don't stop on the yellow lines.  Most motorists still stop across the yellow lines.  Yet to see a police presence to book people over the last 12 months.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Driver distraction on the roads Is at epidemic levels at present !

Drivers are In their own little world Inside their cars, with so many entertainment and Informative opinion available to them with modern day gizmos and gadgets.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

A quick fix is to paint a yellow box on the crossing so it is an offence to enter the box unless your exit is clear. Then police it. It won't take many 3 demerits and hundreds of dollar fines to change peoples habits. No excuses, zero tolerance and publicise it. Plenty of crossings have these but they don't appear to be policed. A separate issue where a T junction is nearby is to post the safe length of the pocket for cars with trailers, as trucks get longer this problem is escalating.
62440
but at the end of the day a level crossing is just an intersection, are we going to paint your yellow boxes at all intersections, if this had been a road on road accident would there be a push to lower all truck speed limits?

its already an offence to block a level crossing, or indeed a road crossing, its probably not enforced very often unfortunately.

but look at the accident in its entirety, the car driver made a mistake, 2 people died, the train driver probably will carry the shock and horror for the rest of his life, but accidents happen.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
A quick fix is to paint a yellow box on the crossing so it is an offence to enter the box unless your exit is clear.
"62240"
You're too late. Union Road crossing already has a cross-hatched yellow paint job. . . didn't seem to help very much.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Historian is correct in saying that the behaviour is to do with risk perception. We all have differing opinions of what is unacceptable risk, formed by our personalities and life experiences. What is far more valuable in this situation is to consider what it was that induced the driver to enter the LXing without an exit being available. Was it just a case of the driver not paying attention to the situation ahead? If so, what can we do to address that senario? Answering these questions can make strident leaps in level crossing safety. I also suspect that the answers could be applied to cars blocking traffic signalled intersections.

It is easy to dismiss the behaviour of the driver as 'stupid' or 'dumb', especially in expressing frustration of yet another such incident, but how is that helpful in preventing future occurrences?

What is stupid to one may be perfectly acceptable to another; what is the standard that defines stupid?
  Bullucked Assistant Commissioner

Of course they're playing politics, it's what you do when in opposition. When you get into power you then find it's not so easy to actually do things and then it becomes the oppositions turn to play politics, and so on and so forth. Don't remember the other mob getting on and doing much when they were in for their one term.

As to Mont Albert and Union Rd crossings, mention skyrail to the locals and see what sort of response you get! Put the railway (in this instance) underground and almalgamate the two stations into one, centrally located. (They're currently only about 600 metres apart)

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