Improvement To Pedestrian Railway Crossings Needed--Transportation Safety Board Of Canada

Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2018 15:38 PM

The Transportation Safety Board is calling for improvements to be made to pedestrian railway crossings,  specifically those that are designated for anyone using an assistive device.

They've asked Transport Canada, railway companies and road authorities across Canada to take steps.

This comes following a fatal accident in 2016 on Robinson Street in Moncton,  involving 29 year old Stephen Harel, whose wheelchair got stuck at the crossing.

The investigation by the TSB found that several crossing conditions contributed to the accident, including a void in the asphalt and the lack of visual cues to navigate safely.   

Investigator in Charge Don Ross says the investigation found that new asphalt had been applied but the lines had not been painted, "There's no requirement for crossings in Canada at this time to have lines.  That is what we are highlighting today with our recommendations, that there are simple things like that that can enhance safety and there are certainly other things that can be considered."

Those things could include improved lighting, additional visual and audio cues, flangeway fillers, changing the angle of the sidewalk and textured surfaces, for example.

TSB Board member Faye Ackermans says designated crossing are using by those who have specific needs, "There are about 300, 000 wheelchair user and around two million people in Canada who have mobility disorders and that number is rising with an aging population. So it is very important that these crossings be made safer."

The investigation also found that federal regulations required railway companies and road authorities to share certain information regarding crossings by November 2016. This requirement included the identification of those crossings equipped with a sidewalk, path or trail designated for persons using assistive devices. The Board is concerned that some of this information has yet to be shared. “Until this happens and these crossings are identified,” said Ackermans, “required improvements may not be implemented in a timely manner, and Canadians, particularly those using assistive devices, will continue to be at an elevated risk at railway crossings.”

The TSB also said CN has made several repairs to the Robinson Street Crossing, including the sidewalk areas.  Crossing standards are also being created by the City of Moncton, and are planned for implementation this year.