Exploring the key challenges in tram driving and crash risk factors on the Melbourne tram network: tram driver focus groups

Farhana Naznin, Graham Currie, David Logan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

1 Citation (Scopus)


Tram drivers have a difficult task in controlling one of the heaviest vehicles on the road whilst negotiating in a complex road environment. In Melbourne, Australia this includes operating trams on the largest tram network in the world. Here, tram drivers operate trams on traffic lanes shared with other road traffic, also along separated tram priority lanes, as well as on light rail sections. In addition to different tram lane configurations, tram drivers have to follow traffic signals at intersections whilst serve passengers at various types of tram stops often in close proximity to the waiting passengers. Like other public transport drivers, tram drivers also have the constant pressure for running on-time as well as the need to ensure passenger safety. Despite these clear challenges, very little research has been conducted on evaluating tram driving tasks and even less on relating route and road user factors with road safety from the tram drivers’ viewpoint. The aim of this study is to investigate the key tram driving challenges as well as to identify crash risk factors along different tram routes, signal and stop settings from the tram drivers’ point of view. Five focus group discussions were conducted involving thirty tram drivers in Melbourne. Key themes emerged inductively from focus groups were identified through audio-recorded data coding process. Findings of this research enhance understanding of tram driving challenges as well as provide an in-depth knowledge of the crash risk factors on tram routes from the tram drivers’ viewpoint. The study outcomes could offer effective planning strategies for transit agencies to improve road safety.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2016 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 16 Nov 201618 Nov 2016
Conference number: 38th
https://www.australasiantransportresearchforum.org.au/papers/2016 (Proceedings)


ConferenceAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2016
Abbreviated titleATRF 2016
Internet address


  • Focus groups
  • Road safety
  • Tram drivers

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