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To stop or not to stop: Contrasting compliant and non-compliant driver behaviour at rural rail level crossings

To stop or not to stop: Contrasting compliant and non-compliant driver behaviour at rural rail level crossings
To stop or not to stop: Contrasting compliant and non-compliant driver behaviour at rural rail level crossings
Many rail level crossings (RLXs) have only passive protection, such as static signs instructing road users to stop, yield, or look for trains. Stop signs have been suggested as a low-cost option to improve safety at passive RLXs, as requiring drivers to stop should encourage safe behaviour. However, field observations have noted high rates of non-compliance at stop-controlled RLXs. To explore this further, we conducted an on-road study to identify factors that influence compliance at stop-controlled RLXs. Twenty-two drivers drove a 30.5 km route in rural Australia, encompassing three stop-controlled RLXs. In over half of all cases (59%) drivers stopped completely at the RLX; on 27% of crossings drivers executed a rolling stop, and on 14% of crossings drivers violated the stop controls. Rolling stops were defined as a continuous deceleration to <10 km/h, but remaining above 0 km/h, before accelerating to >10 km/h. Behavioural patterns, including visual checks and decision-making, were similar when comparing drivers who made complete versus rolling stops. Non-compliant drivers did not differ from compliant drivers in approach speeds, but spent less time visually checking for trains. Post-drive interviews revealed some drivers wilfully disregarded the stop sign, whereas others did not notice the stop sign. Those who intentionally violated noted trains were infrequent and suggested sight distance was good enough (even though all crossings had been formally assessed as having inadequate sight distance). Overall the results suggest most drivers exhibit safe behaviour at passive RLXs, but a notable minority disregard or fail to notice signs. Potential avenues for redesigning passive RLXs to improve safety are discussed.
0001-4575
209-219
Beanland, Vanessa
2429dbf1-4d8e-4997-8b3a-a767206aea56
Salmon, Paul M.
8fcdacc0-31f9-4276-bd9e-8127db6c806e
Filtness, Ashleigh J.
e5f1053c-4a84-4bf5-9586-e88057fca20e
Lenné, Michael G.
42ec07a3-a610-4b56-89d9-cd0f65a6d41d
Stanton, Neville A.
351a44ab-09a0-422a-a738-01df1fe0fadd
Beanland, Vanessa
2429dbf1-4d8e-4997-8b3a-a767206aea56
Salmon, Paul M.
8fcdacc0-31f9-4276-bd9e-8127db6c806e
Filtness, Ashleigh J.
e5f1053c-4a84-4bf5-9586-e88057fca20e
Lenné, Michael G.
42ec07a3-a610-4b56-89d9-cd0f65a6d41d
Stanton, Neville A.
351a44ab-09a0-422a-a738-01df1fe0fadd

Beanland, Vanessa, Salmon, Paul M., Filtness, Ashleigh J., Lenné, Michael G. and Stanton, Neville A. (2017) To stop or not to stop: Contrasting compliant and non-compliant driver behaviour at rural rail level crossings. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 108, 209-219. (doi:10.1016/j.aap.2017.09.004).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Many rail level crossings (RLXs) have only passive protection, such as static signs instructing road users to stop, yield, or look for trains. Stop signs have been suggested as a low-cost option to improve safety at passive RLXs, as requiring drivers to stop should encourage safe behaviour. However, field observations have noted high rates of non-compliance at stop-controlled RLXs. To explore this further, we conducted an on-road study to identify factors that influence compliance at stop-controlled RLXs. Twenty-two drivers drove a 30.5 km route in rural Australia, encompassing three stop-controlled RLXs. In over half of all cases (59%) drivers stopped completely at the RLX; on 27% of crossings drivers executed a rolling stop, and on 14% of crossings drivers violated the stop controls. Rolling stops were defined as a continuous deceleration to <10 km/h, but remaining above 0 km/h, before accelerating to >10 km/h. Behavioural patterns, including visual checks and decision-making, were similar when comparing drivers who made complete versus rolling stops. Non-compliant drivers did not differ from compliant drivers in approach speeds, but spent less time visually checking for trains. Post-drive interviews revealed some drivers wilfully disregarded the stop sign, whereas others did not notice the stop sign. Those who intentionally violated noted trains were infrequent and suggested sight distance was good enough (even though all crossings had been formally assessed as having inadequate sight distance). Overall the results suggest most drivers exhibit safe behaviour at passive RLXs, but a notable minority disregard or fail to notice signs. Potential avenues for redesigning passive RLXs to improve safety are discussed.

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Ns-RLX-stop-compliance_accepted - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 12 September 2018.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 4 September 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 September 2017
Published date: 1 November 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 414988
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/414988
ISSN: 0001-4575
PURE UUID: 714ed5c7-9a9e-4d6f-9925-2af1ba541a02
ORCID for Neville A. Stanton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8562-3279

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Oct 2017 16:31
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 17:51

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