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Human Factors Analysis of Real-Time Rail Crossing Information Signs


The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC) is a vital east-west link for the movement of goods by rail to the west coast ports and terminals as well as eastern destinations. The RBRC travels through several at-grade crossings in the City of Langley, the City of Surrey, and the Township of Langley where motor vehicle traffic is impacted by travel delays due to trains occupying these crossings. With increasing Asia-Pacific trade the frequency and length of trains will grow over time, and so too will travel delays.
In order to help mitigate the compounding traffic congestion and safety issues associated with more trains travelling through Langley, TransLink proposed installing a Rail Crossing Information System (RCIS) in order to detect trains and predict train arrival times at the at-grade crossings in Langley, and installing nine (9) Motorist Advisory Signs (MAS) to encourage drivers to detour to grade-separated crossings when trains are blocking the at-grade crossings ahead.
The study was designed to assess the design of MAS based on human factors research and current guidelines and evaluate the comprehension of the MAS with a representative sample of road users.
Over 10 recommendations were made to improve the design of the MAS. The comprehension test determined that, depending on the complexity of the task presented to study participants, the rate of comprehension was in the range of 82% to 93%.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Safety by Design: Traffic Operations in a Sustainable World
Smahel, T.
Ng, H.
Chu, S.