An RMIT researcher has devised a way to slash traffic congestion at railway station level crossings that is 160 times cheaper than digging a multi-million dollar underground tunnel.
At $1 million per crossing, the new approach called Departure Side Platforms (DSP) would cost just a fraction of the budget needed for a full-blown $160 million grade separation.
Dr William Guzman used traffic simulation software to prove that re-positioning the city-bound platform on the opposite side of a level crossing would reduce the time the intersection was closed by more than half.
“I would like to see all level crossings removed from Victoria, but it’s a big ask,” said Guzman, from RMIT’s School of Business IT and Logistics.
“It would cost up to $80 billion to remove the menace and take hundreds of years at the current pace of level crossing removals.
“The only safe option is to close the level crossing. A new alternative could be DSP.”
Guzman’s theory involves situating the arrival (city-bound) and departure platforms diagonally opposite each other on either side of the crossing rather than facing each other on the same side.
His modelling suggests this would cut the average time the level crossing was closed to traffic from one minute and 41 seconds to just 46 seconds, as the city-bound train would have already crossed over to collect and disembark passengers, bringing it into line with trains running in the opposite direction.
Guzman said his research had revealed congestion was not caused by the actual closing of a level crossing to traffic, but the arrival of trains at the platform, forcing the intersection to remain closed for longer than necessary.
“Currently, most train stations have two platforms – a departure side platform (DSP), where the train stops after the intersection and an arrival side platform (ASP), where the train stops before crossing the intersection,” he said.
“My theory is to replace the current ASP with a new DSP.”
The Victorian Government has committed up to $6 billion to remove 50 of the most dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne.
Guzman said his research would not only act as an interim solution while this is being implemented, but could also assist planning around future transit precincts.
“This new theory presents a level crossing congestion alternative not otherwise investigated or implemented previously that could be simple to implement at a fraction of the cost of each grade separation,” he said.
Story: Greg Thom