What factors influence risk at rail level crossings? A systematic review and synthesis of findings using systems thinking

Collisions between road users (drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians) and trains at rail level crossings (RLXs) remain an intractable issue. This systematic review aimed to determine what is known regarding the factors influencing risk at RLXs, with a focus on understanding the causal relationships across the entire sociotechnical system. A systematic search identified 88 published studies. The studies were categorized according to the type of outcome measured or analyzed: (1) rates and severity of crashes; (2) unsafe and non-compliant road user behaviors; and (3) road user risk perception, attitudes and beliefs. Most studies focused on unsafe and/or non-compliant road user behavior. The factors identified within the studies as influencing risk at RLXs were classified using the Accident Mapping (AcciMap) technique, a systems analysis framework. AcciMap maps the factors that influence behavior across six system levels ranging from Government to the operating environment. Most of the factors identified within the studies related to physical attributes of the crossing itself, its operation, and the behaviors and attributes of road users. Comparatively fewer systemic factors were identified (i.e., policy and budgeting). Few relationships between factors were identified, indicating that little consideration has been given interactions between factors (i.e., how crossing design influences end-user decision making). A research agenda is proposed based on systems thinking and the use of a ‘many model’ approach to understand and address risk at RLXs.


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  • Accession Number: 01768071
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 26 2021 3:32PM