Improving Safety at Level Crossings

Project overview

The Intelligent Tranport System for Improving Safety at Level Crossings.

The Centre for Technology Infusion is developing a new technology-based solution to improve safety at level crossings.

The $5.5 million three-year project uses Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) - a wireless technology providing vehicles and drivers a 360 degree level of awareness of the surrounding traffic situation.

The technology establishes wireless communication between trains approaching a level crossing and vehicles approaching the crossing. If the system detects the possibility of a collision, a warning message is presented inside the driver's vehicle.The Centre for Technology Infusion is developing a new technology-based solution to improve safety at level crossings.

The system has already undergone three large-scale field trials at both regional and urban crossings in the largest-known rail crossing safety study of its kind in the world.

Watch 'New technology set to save lives', a video about the Intelligent Transport System.

2013-iAwards-logo-Victoria-Merit-Recipient_webCTI received the Victorian Merit Recipient iAward in the 2013 Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) Awards for the category of Research & Development.


New technology set to save lives

Saving lives at rail crossings

Your current version is out of date. Please upgrade your Flash player it only takes a minute.



New technology which will have cars and trains 'talking' to each other could save an average of 37 lives every year and an estimated 100 million dollars by eliminating rail crossing collisions, especially in rural and regional Australia. The La Trobe University Centre for Technology Infusion in partnership with the Australian Automotive Co-operative Research Centre and Victorian Department of Transport hopes to have such technology available in three years.

Professor Singh:

The technology we are using is called dedicated short-range communications that allows vehicles to talk to one other and that information is sent to all the other vehicles about the situation at a particular level crossing and drivers are able to make decisions based on that information.


The $4 million dollar project is at the forefront of a global move to ‘intelligent’ transport systems and ‘smart cars’ of the future. It involves mobile-phone-style wireless networks, integrated with GPS. These will run on an international standard of 5.9 gigahertz.

Professor Singh:

As soon as this spectrum is allocated, and in a number of countries it has already been allocated, then the new vehicles will start coming out with this technology, but the solution can be retrofitted as well to cars that are already on the road.


There are about nine and a half thousand level crossings on Australian public roads. About 2,000 are in Victoria. Only a third have flashing lights or boom barriers.

Terry Spicer:

This technology has the potential to significantly reduce and ultimately eliminate collisions, injuries and fatalities at level crossings.


The La Trobe system – which extends driver vision up to one kilometre in all directions will be trialled in 100 vehicles, the largest known rail crossing study of its kind in the world.

Professor Singh:

We have signed an agreement with a number of Chinese universities, with companies there as well that are partnering with those universities, and we see China, India and Asia will be a huge export market.

Terry Spicer:

The global vehicle manufacturers are going to manufacture this technology into motor vehicles. The question will simply be how quickly governments around the world retrospectively require motor vehicles, or heavy vehicles or buses to also fit the technology rather than just allow people to purchase the technology in new vehicles.


The new system is based on relatively cheap radio technology, so the cost per vehicle can be kept to a minimum. This is good news for drivers, particularly those using remote crossings without lights and booms, where an on board safety warning system could save lives, and the next generation of cars fitted with this technology may even stop on their own.

Intelligent Transport System demonstration - Vehicle approaching level crossing

Intelligent Transport System demonstration -Vehicle approaching perpendicular and parallel to level crossing

Intelligent Transport System demonstration - Vehicle rerouting for congestion avoidance

Intelligent Transport System demonstration - Intersection Collision Avoidance

Intelligent Transport System demonstration - Vehicle approaching regional level crossing

In the news

The Intelligent Transport System improving safety at level crossings