New technology that aims to reduce the risk of level crossing collisions between trains and vehicles in rural areas will be trialled at two level crossings in NSW.
The government funded trials will make use of signs with LED flashing lights at level crossings in Narromine and Bribbaree, to improve awareness and safety.
ARCS at Bribbaree and Sage Automation at Narromine have received contracts to install new level crossing signs, with detailed design work currently underway.
Nationals Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the NSW Government had listened to concerns raised through a community petition led by Maddie Bott.
Bott’s fiancée Ethan Hunter and work colleague Mark Fenton were both killed in February last year when their B-double collided with a freight train at Bribbaree, around 70 kilometres northwest of Young.
According to Farraway, 68 per cent of public road crossings use only stop and give way signs to warn about the presence of a level crossing and the need to stop to look for trains.
“Transport for NSW has developed a new strategic direction to help fast track improvements at level crossings which will involve trialling the use of new technology,” he said.
“On top of this we have reduced speed limits to 80km/h at more than 50 level crossings across regional NSW as part of the Level Crossing Speed Zone Reduction Program.
“We know a lot of crashes at level crossings occur where the road speed limit is 100km/h or greater, so reducing the speed limit gives drivers more time to see the level crossing ahead and stop for oncoming trains.”
TrackSAFE Foundation’s executive director Heather Neil said TrackSAFE welcomed today’s announcement.
“NSW has thousands of level crossings and new technology will play an important part in improving safety,” she said.
“This week is Rail Safety Week, and we remind travellers, pedestrians, commuters and rail workers that they can all play an active role in rail safety. And we urge the Australian community to Stay Rail Safe.”
ARCS commercial director Phil Lock said he is looking forward to working with the NSW Government to develop technology that could potentially save more lives in country communities.
SAGE Automation Smart Cities lead Ashby Martin echoed this view. “SAGE is passionate about developing new systems to improve road safety in partnership with Transport for NSW and the NSW Government,” he said.
The trial is funded through the Digital Restart Fund and will commence later this year. The data collected will be used to determine the effectiveness of the new technology.
The Narromine trial will evaluate the effectiveness of a stop sign with LED warning lighting. The Bribbaree trial will also monitor the effectiveness of stop signs with LED warning lights and LED streetlights.