An exploratory study assessing driver behavior at highway-rail grade crossing using on-road test vehicles

Michael G Lenne, Paul M Salmon, Kristie L Young

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


Crashes at rail level crossings represent a significant problem, both in Australia and worldwide. Advances in driving assessment methods, such as the provision of on-road instrumented test vehicles, now provide researchers with the opportunity to further understand driver behaviour at rail level crossings in ways not previously possible. This paper gives an overview of a recent on-road pilot study of driver behaviour at rail level crossings in which 25 participants drove a predetermined route, incorporating 4 rail level crossings, using MUARC’s instrumented On-Road Test Vehicle (ORTeV). Drivers provided verbal commentary whilst driving the route, and a range of other data were collected, including eye fixations, forward, cockpit and driver video,and vehicle data (speed, braking, steering wheel angle, lane tracking etc). Participants also completed a post trial cognitive task analysis interview. Extracts from the wider analyses are used to examine in depth driver behaviour at one of the rail level crossings encountered during the study. The analysis presented gives insight into the driver and wider systems factors that shape behaviour at rail level crossings, and highlights the utility of using a multi-method, instrumented vehicle approach for gathering data regarding driver behaviour in different contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Road Safety and Simulation
PublisherTransportation Research Board
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventInternational Conference on Road Safety and Simulation (RSS) 2011 - Indiana Government Conference Center, Indianapolis, United States of America
Duration: 14 Sep 201116 Sep 2011
Conference number: 3rd


ConferenceInternational Conference on Road Safety and Simulation (RSS) 2011
Abbreviated titleRSS 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • highway-rail grade crossing
  • instrumented vehicle
  • cognitive task analysis
  • driver behaviour

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