The Open Transportation
How Drivers Understand Safe Behaviour and Perceive Risks at Passive
Railway-Road Level Crossings
Juha Luoma and Mikko Poutanen Pp 88-91
This study was designed to investigate how drivers assess safety issues at passive railway-road level crossings.
The study was limited to traditional and relatively inexpensive safety measures. Fifty-six car and van drivers were
interviewed after passive level crossings with low traffic volume. Both key requirements of safe behaviour (i.e. decrease
of speed and looking for trains) were indicated by 36-71% of drivers depending on the classification of responses. This
result suggests that a substantial percentage of drivers have no proper concept of safe behaviour at level crossings.
Another important result was that drivers found the crossing of main roads to be more difficult than crossing passive
railway-road level crossings — despite the fact that they considered the latter to be more dangerous. This suggests that the
drivers estimated the crash risk at railway-road level crossings to be relatively low, although they know that it is
dangerous in general. Furthermore, the drivers suggested that the conspicuity of level crossings could be improved by
increasing lateral visibility early enough and with advance warning signs. The drivers also suggested that caution could be
increased with the use of STOP signs, improving the visibility of road signs and increasing the lateral visibility of tracks.
The results suggest that there are several potential safety measures that could support drivers.