Evaluating Design Hypotheses for Rail Level Crossings: An Observational Study of Pedestrian and Cyclist Behavior

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Gemma J. M. ReadaPaul M. SalmonbMichael G. LennécElizabeth M. Greyd

Abstract: Accidents involving pedestrians at rail level crossings are a significant public safety concern in Australia and internationally. The current design of rail crossings incorporates assumptions and hypotheses about how people will interact with the infrastructure at the crossing. The hypotheses associated with the design of pedestrian rail crossings in metropolitan Melbourne were evaluated through the findings of naturalistic observations of users. Comparison of actual behavior as recorded in the observations was compared to the design hypotheses relating to the features at the crossing. While for some the majority of behavior was in line with the hypothesis, it was found that a number of the hypotheses were not always supported. The evaluation uncovered unexpected interactions between users and the infrastructure, as well as implications for rail crossing design. The findings support the need for a systems approach to the analysis and design of rail crossings from a pedestrian and cyclist safety perspective to assist understanding of the system and to inform its re-design.

Keywords: Rail crossings, Pedestrian safety, Affordances, Design evaluation, Behavioral observation

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe100654

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