There are more than 23,000 level crossings in Australia many of which involve interactions between rail operations, road traffic, cyclists and pedestrians every minute of every day.

At all of these level crossings there exists a level of risk to safety – indeed, other than suicide and trespass, accidents at level crossings are the primary cause of railway related fatalities among the general public.

All rail safety stakeholders, including the general public, have a role to play in improving safety at level crossings and ONRSR continues to advocate for co-operation between all parties that will ultimately help reduce the rate of fatalities and serious injuries associated with collisions. ONRSR also continues to be fully supportive of the work being done by government and industry to remove level crossings and to commit to a policy of no new level crossings unless totally unavoidable.

For the past twelve months, ONRSR, on behalf of the National Level Crossing Safety Committee (NLCSC), has been developing a National Level Crossing Portal - This allows for level crossing safety data to be available to a range of rail safety stakeholders, on demand, through a self-serve online portal. The data sets assist decision makers in government, industry and among other stakeholders to be better informed when making safety investment and planning decisions or undertaking research. Stage one of the portal initially incorporates ONRSR occurrence data and some ALCAM data.

Interface Agreements

The Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) requires that rail transport operators and road managers coordinate actions at a rail or road crossing to ensure that the safety risks have been identified and are minimised so far as is reasonably practicable. Penalties may apply to rail transport operators and road managers who breach their requirements at a rail or road crossing.

They must each:

  • identify and assess risks to safety arising from rail or road crossings;
  • determine measures to manage – so far as is reasonably practicable – those risks; and
  • seek to enter into interface agreements with the rail and/or road manager to manage the risks.

The specific responsibilities of each are described in sections 106-108 of the RSNL.

An interface agreement is a formal written agreement between the responsible road and/or rail managers. The format of the agreement may be determined by the parties but it must include the matters specified under section 105 of the RSNL, such as responsibilities of parties for implementing measures and a process for monitoring these, and ensuring that new risks are also identified and minimised over time. A template is also available for use.

Rail or road crossings include:

  • a level crossing;
  • an area where a road and a tramway meet at substantially the same level, where there is no level crossing sign on the road at all or any of the entrances to the area;
  • an area where a footpath or shared path crosses a tramway at substantially the same level, where there is no level crossing sign on the path at all or any of the entrances to the area;
  • a bridge carrying a road over a railway;
  • a bridge carrying a railway over a road; or
  • a lane of a road on which rolling stock moves alongside road vehicles on the road.
Last updated: Sep 1, 2021, 5:46:55 PM