Evaluating railway safety by observing the current condition of level crossings in the Western Cape

Malan, Ilse (2011-12)

The aim of this project is to determine the key causal factors of accidents at level crossings in South Africa. The contribution of each factor to accident occurrence is investigated and potential management interventions are proposed.

Final year project, 2011

Technical Report

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Annually a number of fatal accidents occur at level crossings in South Africa. It is assumed that these kinds of accidents could be avoided if the road and rail systems and intersections are managed properly. This final year project evaluates railway safety by observing the current condition of level crossings in the Western Cape. The goal of this study is to identify contributing factors that increase the likelihood of an injury occurring in a collision between a vehicle and a train. Once the factors have been identified plans of action can be developed to strive to decrease level crossing collisions from occurring. This could save numerous lives and lots of money. The research problem at hand is to try and determine why this class of accidents occur and to indicate how management can be improved to reduce the number of incidents annually. Accident data was collected from the Western Cape area between the period 1999 and 2010. A correlation study was performed on the different contributing variables. Logistical regression was used with the occurrence of an injury set as dependent variable. Variables that influence the occurrence of an injury was identified as day of the week, time of the day, good visibility, type of road and type of vehicle. Stellenbosch’s biggest level crossing was evaluated against the South African Traffic Road Signs Manual (Brain, 1999). It was found that the level crossing met the standards that were set by the South African Department of Transport. Then a case study of one accident was done to determine the reason for the accident. Driver error was found to be the main cause of the accident. A survey study was done to determine whether people are making errors due to lack of knowledge. The study indicated that people do not know what to do at level crossings. Furthermore it was found that the South African driving test is out-dated and failing at educating drivers. The recommendation at hand is to restructure South Africa’s driver tests. A new more advanced test should be developed. Proper driver education is necessary to increase safety at level crossings. The interim solution would be to put up traffic lights at level crossings.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is jaarliks 'n aantal noodlottige ongelukke wat by spoorwegkruisings in Suid-Afrika voorkom. Daar word aanvaar dat hierdie soort van ongelukke voorkom kan word indien die pad en spoor stelsels en kruisings behoorlik bestuur word. Hierdie finale jaar projek evalueer spoorweg veiligheid deur na die huidige spooroorgang toestand van die Wes-Kaap te kyk. Die doel van hierdie studie is om bydraende faktore wat die waarskynlikheid van 'n besering wat tydens ‘n botsing tussen ‘n voertuig en trein opgedoen word verhoog, te identifiseer. Wanneer die faktore geïdentifiseer is moet ‘n oplossing ontwikkel word wat streef om spooroorgang botsings te voorkom. Die oplossing sal baie lewens red en baie geld spaar. Die navorsings probleem ter sprake is om te bepaal waarom hierdie klas van ongelukke nog voorkom en om te bepaal hoe die bestuur van hierdie stelsels verbeter kan word om die aantal voorvalle jaarliks te verminder. Ongelukdata is versamel in die Wes-Kaap vir die tydperk tussen 1999 en 2010. 'n Korrelasie studie is uitgevoer op die verskillende veranderlikes. Logistieke regressie is hierna toegepas, met die voorkoms van 'n besering as afhanklike veranderlike. Veranderlikes wat 'n invloed op die voorkoms van 'n besering het is geïdentifiseer as die dag van die week, die tyd van die dag, goeie sigbaarheid, die tipe pad en tipe voertuig. Stellenbosch se grootste spooroorgang was teen die “South African Traffic Road Signs Manual (Brain, 1999)“ geëvalueer. Daar is gevind dat die spooroorgang aan die huidige standaarde wat deur die Departement van Vervoer van Suid Afrika neergele is voldoen. Toe is 'n gevallestudie van 'n ongeluk by hierdie spooroorgang gedoen. Bestuurders foute is bevind dat die hoofoorsaak van ongelukke. 'n Opname studie is gedoen om te bepaal of mense foute maak as gevolg van ‘n gebrek aan kennis. Die studie het aangedui dat mense nie weet wat om te doen by spooroorgange nie. Verder is gevind dat die Suid-Afrikaanse bestuurders toets is verouderd en faal daarin om bestuurders op te voed. Aanbevelings is om Suid-Afrika se bestuurder toetse te herstruktureer. 'n Nuwe, meer gevorderde toets moet ontwikkel word. Behoorlike bestuurder opleiding en opvoeding is nodig om veiligheid te verhoog by spooroorgange.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18146
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