The NSW Nationals will trial 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 level crossings in Narromine and Bribbaree, to improve awareness and safety.
Contracts have been signed with ARCS at Bribbaree and Sage Automation at Narromine to install new level crossing signs and the detailed design work is now currently underway.
Nationals Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the NSW Government had listened to concerns raised through the community petition led by Maddie Bott, whose fiancée Ethan Hunter and work colleague Mark Fenton died 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 per hour 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 an hour 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 from the NSW Government.
“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 they are excited to be partnering with the NSW Government and delivering innovative technology to improve safety for regional communities.
“I’m looking forward to working with government to develop technology that could potentially save more lives in country communities,” he said.
SAGE Automation Smart Cities Lead Ashby Martin echoed these 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 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.