Amber Light for the Active Flashing Controls at Level Crossings

Research Overview:

Road vehicle users encounter ongoing issues at level crossings incorporating active warning lights without boom barriers predominately relating to a) failure to stop at red light signals in time resulting in near miss or train strikes; or b) rear end collisions when trailing vehicles do not observe the approaching level crossing warning lights and fail to stop in time.

Road rules exist in all parts of Australia and NZ around entry to a level crossing when the red lights are flashing, as do road traffic lights when the red light is active. But with traffic lights, there is an advance warning that the lights are changing to red with the amber light showing prior to the red light activating. If a level crossing had the introduction of an amber light the likelihood of a road user passing through a red light should reduce.

‘Traffic lights’ introduced at level crossings is not envisaged, more likely a single yellow light possibly introduced, for example below the two red flashing lights, located centrally, in a triangular configuration, based on the RX5 assembly. This should reduce the number of red light passes at level crossings, reduced likelihood of collisions and provide traffic flow benefits. This research can explore options for the possible flashing light arrangements mainly utilising the existing RX5 arrangement to ensure rapid implementation is possible.

An international literature scan should be the first step in this project. Network Rail in the UK have undertaken work in this area. Following completion of the literature review future research options will be assessed (i.e. either a series of driving simulator based experiments and, if positive outcomes from simulation, pilot field trials could be initiated as a final stage of this project) with the level crossing working group.