In 2007, the National Railway Level Crossing Behavioural Coordination Group (BCG) conducted the Exemplar Education and Enforcement Pilot. A ‘before and after’ study, the program measured road user behaviour at railway level crossings in metropolitan and rural Victoria. It also examined the results of a mining company’s railway level crossing initiatives in the Northern Territory.
Behaviour at the nominated sites was monitored to measure compliance with stop and give-way signs as well as crossings with lights only and those fitted with lights and booms. A local education campaign and accompanied enforcement was conducted in these areas for four weeks. Following this period, behaviour was remeasured at the test and control sites to determine the effectiveness of the education and enforcement program.
A mining company’s compliance program in the Northern Territory was also examined as a case study. After unsuccessfully stationing a security guard at a railway level crossing to enforce stopping at the Stop sign, the company introduced a log book. Drivers had to exit their trucks and sign before travelling over the crossing. The book remained for four months before being removed and replaced intermittently with security. Over three months of monitoring, non-compliance was almost eliminated and remained very low over the following five months with only the occasional heavy vehicle failing to comply.
The aim of the pilot was to provide a basis on which to develop guidance materials for rail organisations to engage enforcement agencies in railway level crossing safety. It also aspired to create resources to guide rail organisations to engage with their local road safety agencies to conduct community awareness campaigns. The pilot demonstrated that enforcement has a positive effect on road user compliance with Stop signs at railway level crossings.