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Road Safety Fact Sheet NRSC 9 Railway Level Crossing Safety Issue The National Railway Level Crossing Safety Strategy 2010-2020. Key points The main avenue for the development and implementation of specific national initiatives to address safety at railway level crossings is through the Rail Level Crossing Group (RLCG), a working group under the Australian Transport Council (ATC). The RLCG has developed an updated National Railway Level Crossing Safety Strategy (2010-2020), which will guide policy and investment into the future to enhance safety outcomes at rail level crossings. The Strategy provides practical approaches to reduce crashes and near misses at level crossings, including consideration of potential warning devices and best practice in camera-based enforcement. This Strategy will complement the new National Road Safety Strategy and better align road and rail safety. The Safety Standing Sub-Committee of SCOT (SSSC) has suggested that the NRSC consider appointing one of its members as an ambassador for railway level crossing safety. Background The Government is investing $7.9 billion between 2008-09 and 2013-14 in rail projects across Australia through the Nation Building Program. This includes an investment of $150 million to install boom gates and other active controls at over 290 high-risk rail crossings. In addition, the Government investment is improving safety at the busier road/rail intersections such as the $140 million Springvale Road Rail Crossing separation project in Melbourne. In Australia’s federal system, individual state and territory governments have primary responsibility for road rules and enforcement, including setting speed limits, and penalties for traffic offences. The Government is working closely with the states and territories through the ATC to improve rail transport safety. The RLCG has developed a Railway Level Crossing Safety Strategy 2010-2020 and Action Plan that was endorsed by the ATC in November 2009. The Rail Level Crossing Strategy focuses on practical approaches to reduce crashes and near misses at level crossings, including: consideration of potential warning devices; best practice in camera-based enforcement; and implementing nationally consistent speed reductions on approaches. Research into level crossing treatments is being undertaken by the Cooperative Research Centre for Rail Innovation (RailCRC), a collaborative venture between leading organisations in the Australian rail industry and Australian Universities and is supported by the Commonwealth Government. In particular, the RailCRC is looking into affordable level crossing protection systems for crossings in regional areas and non-public crossings in areas with high speed passenger trains. This work is being monitored by the RLCG as part of its action plan. The Government is also working with the states and territories to fully implement a national rail safety regulatory and investigator framework by 2013 to reduce the regulatory burdens for industry, particularly those operators currently holding more than one accreditation (i.e. those operating in more than one jurisdiction). In the meantime, the ATC has agreed to strengthen the Rail Safety Regulators Panel with a view to progressing national harmonisation of rail safety regulation during the period in which the national regulator is being established. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government has agreed to Minister Albanese’s request to inquire into smart infrastructure and to make recommendations on ways to maximise its potential benefits to Australian communities including the transport sector. It is expected that the inquiry into intelligent transport systems would consider the case for in-vehicle warning systems that warn motorists of an approaching train as motorists approach the crossings. Road Safety Fact Sheet NRSC 9 The Government, in conjunction with the states and the Northern Territory, is working with the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) to improve operational efficiency, safety and engineering standards, codes of practice, guidelines and rules for the rail industry for the purposes of managing safety issues and meeting operational requirements. RISSB’s standards, codes of practice, rules, and guidelines provide an accepted means of risk control for the rail industry. These address, among other things, maintenance of rolling stock; rail joints and surfaces; train control systems; and safety.
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