031/18

Status
Open
Recommendation Date
Recipient Name
NZTA
Text
The sighting distance for road users at the Lambert Road level crossing did not meet the minimum standard as set out in the Manual. It was possible that drivers who did stop at the stop sign would not have had sufficient time to clear the level crossing if a train was just out of view.

Maintaining sighting distances at level crossings is critical for the safety of road users. While most of the factors that are considered when deciding on the level of protection to give a level crossing are unlikely to change significantly over time, vegetation growth can relatively quickly render a level crossing unsafe.

The legislation is not clear on the allocation of responsibility between rail access providers and road controlling authorities for ensuring the safety of rail and road users at public road level crossings.

On 13 December 2018 the Commission recommended that the Chief Executive of the NZ Transport Agency take the necessary action to clarify the allocation of responsibilities between licensed rail access providers and road controlling authorities for maintaining sighting distances at public road level crossings.
Reply Text
The NZ Transport Agency has accepted these recommendations. In order to comply with these recommendations and enhance its regulatory oversight of the industry the Transport Agency is currently recruiting more personnel into the rail regulatory space.

The full-time positions will not be entirely dedicated to level crossing safety, but they are expected to help provide a system approach to evaluating the critical risk and system assurances across the country. The work will be complementary to the current ALCAM assessments (which deal with the assessments of level crossing safety on an individual basis) and other level crossing work in progress. It is not intended to deter from the efforts of those processes.

The Transport Agency (Rail Regulator) intends to apply a holistic approach to the road rail interface. The complexities of relationships between local authorities and the rail access providers in managing level crossing is to be more centralised in order to maintain a consistent approach to construction, regulation and safety.

While significant progress has been made it is accepted that as the rail industry grows, particularly in the suburban areas, the management of level crossing construction and protection will require greater scrutiny, primarily for the reasons of increased train frequencies and the number of incidents of damage to rail protection systems.
Related Investigation(s)