To help increase safety at level crossings, Transport for NSW has announced that speed limits have been reduced from 100 km/h to 80 km/h at level crossings controlled by boom gates and flashing lights to lower the risk of collisions. The reduced speed limit lowers the likelihood of a crash and allows drivers more time to react and stop safely at a level crossing. This is especially important for heavy vehicles which need more time to stop.
Level crossings that have boom gates and flashing lights, rather than only ‘stop’ or ‘give way’ signs generally have higher levels of traffic and train use. The new speed limit of 80 km/h at level crossings must be adopted unless:
- A lower speed limit would be appropriate in accordance with the NSW speed zoning guidelines
- There are curve warning signs with an advisory speed plate of 45 km/h or less in which case a limit of 60 km/h or less is to be adopted
- The crossing is within 400 metres of a road terminating.
These changes will be in place until 2023.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, said that from 2001 to 2020, there were 154 crashes between trains and vehicles at level crossings in NSW, resulting in 14 fatalities and 24 serious injuries. More than 30 per cent of these crashes occurred at locations where the speed limit was 100km/h or greater. A positive outcome of the change will be safer roads and less fatalities.
Transport for NSW has advised that the changes will have minimal impact on travel times. For example, their modelling shows a sample individual trip of 286 km from Parkes to Griffith (via the Newell Highway) would have a total time impact of 1.2 minutes over the entire trip – approximately 0.25 seconds per km.
NatRoad has also raised with Transport for NSW more investigation relating to heavy vehicles on the physical approaches to railway crossings.
For more information on specific locations and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the Transport for NSW website.
NatRoad supports the implementation of measures that will improve the safety for all road users.