NSW nationals will test new technology to reduce the risk of level crossing collisions between trains and vehicles in rural areas.
The government will fund trials of innovative signs with LED flashing lights at Narromine and Bribbaree crossings, to improve awareness and safety.
Contracts have been signed with ARCS at Bribbaree and Sage Automation at Narromine to install new crossing signs and detailed design work is currently underway.
Nationals Regional Transport and Roads Minister Sam Farraway said the NSW Government had listened to concerns raised by the community petition led by Maddie Bott, including fiancée Ethan Hunter and work colleague Mark Fenton died in February last year when their B-double collided with a freight. train at Bribbaree, about 70 kilometers northwest of Young.
According to Farraway, 68% of public crossings only use stop and yield signs to warn of the presence of a crossing and the need to stop to look for trains.
“Transport for NSW has developed a new strategic direction to help accelerate improvements at level crossings, which will involve testing the use of new technologies,” he said.
“In addition to this, we have reduced speed limits to 80km per hour at over 50 level crossings in the NSW region as part of the Level Crossing Speed Zone Reduction Scheme.
“We know that many crossing accidents occur where the road speed limit is 100 km per hour or more, so lowering the speed limit gives drivers more time to see the crossing. ahead of them and stop for oncoming trains.”
Heather Neil, Executive Director of the TrackSAFE Foundation, said TrackSAFE welcomed today’s announcement by the NSW Government.
“NSW has thousands of level crossings and new technology will play a big 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 Chief Commercial Officer Phil Lock said he was delighted to partner with the New South Wales government and deliver innovative technology to improve the safety of regional communities.
“I look forward to working with the government to develop technology that could potentially save more lives in rural communities,” he said.
Ashby Martin, head of smart cities at SAGE Automation, echoed those sentiments.
“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 by the Digital Restart Fund and will begin later this year. The data collected will be used to determine the effectiveness of the new technology.
The Narromine trial will assess 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.