A potential in ITS application to predict urban railway level crossing delays

The Victorian government has embarked on an eight year program to grade separate 50 level crossings around metropolitan Melbourne at an estimated cost of $AUD 5 to 6 B. A primary motivation of this program is to reduce delays to private motorists, freight vehicles and public transport services. As is common in an urban context, the existing level crossings are protected by boom barriers that control road traffic movements to ensure safe rail operation. Some of those crossings are effectively closed to traffic for up to three quarters of the peak hour. While this extensive capital works program will reduce delays at those locations, around 125 level crossings will be left untreated by the current grade separation project. This research examines the potential for Intelligent Transport Systems to reduce delays at urban railway level crossings. The characteristics of the current control system are examined to identify factors that contribute to delays to road users and a simulation model is used to model how ITS technology could be used reduce crossing closure times. The model highlights the value of improved train speed data and more accurate data on whether a particular train is to stop at a station adjacent to the crossing or run express through the level crossing.

The program: structure – 9 main areas, 5 year program with funding ~$5M


Rail crossing removal is NOT justified  – using existing benefit estimation methods


Source:  Nguyen, N, Currie G De Gruyter C Young W (2016 submission) ‘A New Method to Estimate the Aggregate Impacts of At-Grade Rail Crossing Impacts on Network Traffic Flow ’  Journal of Transport Geography

Impact of Removing ALL xings

Results in:

  • 0.1% reduction in congested links
  • 1.7% reduction in no. of severely congested road links
  • 0.3% reduction in travel time