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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Statistics don't answer Leann's question

Leann from Minchinbury Terrace wanted to pass on a statistic she received in reply to an inquiry made on rail safety this week.

When questioned as to how removing an overpass and a level crossing and providing all pedestrians with a single point of access to the platform could be considered safer, a DPTI representative responded with the following statistics:

"There have been 23 collisions and 717 near misses between pedestrians and trains on the SA Rail network over the last five years" DPT&I rail revitalisation project team.

This is a large, scary number, however, it doesn't really answer Leann's question. Her query relates to whether or not a single point of access (particularly one that people don't want to use - say, like a subway) introduces a rail risk.  

If that point of access encourages trespass, for example, it would seem that Leann is quite correct.


Misleading?

But this statistic is also seems to radically overstate the risks of pedestrian crossings in general and the one at Marion in particular

The most recent publicly available SA data says that of 16 recorded people-train collisions, three occurred at level crossings.

Over 4 of those 5 years:
  • Three  people were hit at pedestrian level-crossings.
  • Thirteen people were hit at platforms, trespassing, or in some other way.
It is also unknown what the extent of injury occurred in these incidents. Note that collisions are presumed to be fatalities. It's not actually clear if they were or not, based on the information Leann received. 


What it does mean?

It seems that the sad reality is that if every level crossing in Adelaide had been removed from the network in the past five years, 13 of the 16 people recorded here would still have been struck by a train.

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