Scope, Methods & Explanatory Notes

The scope, methods and explanatory notes used for the presentation of data in the National Level Crossing Portal (NLXP) are described here.

For definitions of terms used, please refer to the Business Glossary.

Reports

Reports are available within the NLXP to approved members of the following user groups:

  1. Rail Infrastructure Managers
  2. Rolling Stock Operators
  3. National Level Crossing Safety Committee (NLCSC)
  4. State Level Crossing Committees
  5. Associations (e.g. the Rail Industry Safety Standards Board, Australasian Railway Association).

Each report within the NLXP contains a series of pages that present tailored information to the user, depending on the user group they are representing. The pages available within each report are summarised below.

Page

Summary

Summary

Provides an at-a-glance overview of the number of sites, level crossings, reported occurrences and associated casualties. Other features vary by report.

Occurrences

Focuses on level crossing occurrences reported to ONRSR over time, presented through a series of interactive visualisations

Line sections

A page designed for rolling stock operators, it presents level crossing occurrence and risk data by line section.

Likelihood factor

A tool available to RIM and Level Crossing Committee users, which can help validate risk assessment data. It presents a scatter plot of road crossings to help explore the correlation between collision and near miss occurrences and the risk assessment likelihood factor.

Site profile

Presents the profile of a selected level crossing site covering: site characteristics; access and status; information currency; site management responsibility; traffic information; location information; and, where permitted, safety flag and risk assessment data.

Benchmarking

Enables the user to benchmark level crossing safety performance by network, rolling stock operation or jurisdiction, dependent on the report.

Data quality indicators

Presents a series of metrics that provide the user with an indication of the quality of the level crossing data used by the NLXP, covering aspects such as completeness, timeliness and accuracy.

Level crossing register

Contains a register of all level crossings within scope of the NLXP, permissible for the user to access.

Occurrence register

Contains a register of all occurrences reported at level crossing sites within the scope of the NLXP, permissible for the user to access.

Data description

The NLXP includes data for notifiable occurrences at level crossings within scope of the NLXP, dating back to 1 July 2014. Only the following sub-categories of level crossing occurrences are included:

  • Collision with road vehicle;
  • Collision with person;
  • Level crossing equipment failure / defect;
  • Level crossing equipment damage / interference;
  • Near miss with road vehicle; and
  • Near miss with person.

This data is based on the initial written advice of a rail safety notifiable occurrence that a rail transport operator submits to ONRSR in accordance with section 121 of the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL).

Depending upon the nature of any occurrence, the total time required for the occurrence to be reported to ONRSR and for ONRSR to then review and validate can be up to 14 days. ONRSR will make occurrence data available to the NLXP once this processing is complete. Updates of newly available occurrences will be made daily.

Occurrence data collected by former state regulators and used within the NLXP was collected under different legislative regimes. A review of this data has been undertaken to ensure comparability with ONRSR collected data. This applies to the data outlined below:

  • Western Australia (WA) – level crossing occurrence data from 1 July 2014 to 1 November 2015 was collected by the WA Department of Transport, Office of Rail Safety.
  • Queensland (Qld.) – level crossing occurrence data from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2017 was collected by the Qld. Department of Transport and Main Roads.
  • Victoria (Vic.) – level crossing occurrence data from 1 July 2014 to 1 December 2019 was collected by Transport Safety Victoria for the Melbourne metropolitan tram network and for tourist and heritage operators that transitioned under ONRSR’s regulatory oversight on 2 December 2019.

Refer to Table 2 within NLXP – Access Levels and Data Attributes for a full list of occurrence data attributes available to NLXP users, by access level.

All occurrence records available in the NLXP have been through a process that redacts personally identifiable information from the occurrence description.

Aggregated train kilometre data reported to ONRSR since 1 January 2016 is included within the NLXP for benchmarking purposes only. This is based on monthly returns supplied to ONRSR by rail transport operators in accordance with section 120(3) of the RSNL.

Train kilometre data collected by previous state regulators prior to ONRSR and used in the NLXP were collected under different legislative regimes. A review of this data has been undertaken to ensure comparability with ONRSR collected data. This applies to the data outlined below:

  • Queensland (Qld.) – train kilometre data from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 was collected by the Qld. Department of Transport and Main Roads.
  • Victoria (Vic.) – train kilometre data from 1 July 2016 to 1 December 2019 was collected by Transport Safety Victoria for the Melbourne metropolitan tram network.

The specific information provided as part of an operator’s monthly return is defined in clause 56 of the National Regulations. It must be submitted as soon as practicable after the end of each month, and not later than the 21st day of the following month.

New train kilometre data will be updated and made available to users within the NLXP overnight on the 1st day of each month. This incorporates data submitted by the 21st day of the previous month, after allowing time for data processing, review and validation activities.

A subset of level crossing characteristic data contained within and sourced from the ALCAM LXM. It covers characteristics such as location information, management responsibility, control types, rail traffic and road traffic data. Refer to Table 3 within NLXP – Access Levels and Data Attributes for a full list of level crossing characteristic data attributes available to NLXP users, by access level.

This data is managed by data owners or delegates, such as Rail Infrastructure Managers or State Government Transport Departments (dependent on jurisdiction), using the ALCAM LXM.

An extract of the data is provided to ONRSR on a monthly basis by the ALCAM LXM system administrator, with the permission of the data owners. It incorporates any changes made to the underlying data in ALCAM LXM during the previous month and will be made available in the NLXP prior to the last day of each month.

Level crossing characteristic data sourced directly from a sub-set of ONRSR-accredited RIMs that manage level crossings but do not use the ALCAM LXM. It covers characteristics such as location information, management responsibility, control types, rail traffic and road traffic data. Refer to Table 3 within NLXP – Access Levels and Data Attributes for a full list of level crossing characteristic data attributes available to NLXP users, by access level.

This data was provided to ONRSR by relevant RIMs between January and May 2021, on a voluntary basis, for use within the NLXP. This data will not be updated in the NLXP until the implementation of the National Data Strategy, which will introduce a new reporting regime for level crossing data.

A subset of sensitive level crossing data sourced from the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM) Level Crossing Management System (LXM). It covers information such as risk assessment and safety flag data. Refer to Table 4 within NLXP – Access Levels and Data Attributes for a full list of ‘risk’ data attributes available to NLXP users, by access level.

This data is managed by data owners or delegates, such as Rail Infrastructure Managers or State Government Transport Departments (dependent on jurisdiction), using the ALCAM LXM.

An extract of the data is provided to ONRSR on a monthly basis by the ALCAM LXM system administrator, with the permission of the data owners. It incorporates any changes made to the underlying data in ALCAM LXM during the previous month and will be made available in the NLXP prior to last day of each month.

Data limitations

While all reasonable efforts are made to ensure the quality of occurrence data within scope of the NLXP, ONRSR cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of information provided by third parties.

ONRSR has attempted to remove all the personal information provided by rail transport operators within occurrence descriptions but cannot guarantee that all has been redacted. Should ONRSR be made aware of any remnant personal information, it will promptly redact this material.

Occurrences reported to have taken place at level crossings outside the scope of the NLXP or with an unknown level crossing ID, are excluded.

A complete set of train kilometre data for rail operations in Western Australia is unavailable for the 2015 calendar year. To ensure nationally consistent data within the NLXP, train kilometre data is therefore excluded prior to 1 January 2016.

A consistent set of train kilometre data for tourist and heritage operators in Victoria, that transitioned under ONRSR’s regulatory oversight on 2 December 2019, is unavailable prior to this date. This data is excluded from the NLXP as it has no material effect on the information presented.

Level crossing characteristics sourced from ALCAM LXM represent a snapshot of each level crossing in time, based on the date the associated record was last updated in ALCAM LXM. There is no guarantee that the information presented is current and reflective of the level crossing in the real world.

Furthermore, changes to level crossing characteristics over time are not tracked within ALCAM LXM and are not available within the NLXP. Users should therefore exercise caution when exploring relationships between occurrence history and level crossing characteristics, such as primary control type or rail and road traffic data, which may have changed over time.

Data quality within ALCAM LXM varies by RIM or jurisdiction, dependent on the data management regime put in place by the data owners. Other than in limited circumstances, any defects present in ALCAM LXM data will flow through to the NLXP. To mitigate this, the NLXP contains 25 separate data quality metrics which provide users with an indication of the quality of level crossing data at their disposal.

For example, the proportion of level crossings with a last ALCAM survey date greater than seven years old is presented to provide an indication of data currency. This helps users judge the reliability of any insights derived from the NLXP and helps data owners plan data treatment activities.

Data is only available for level crossings managed by those ONRSR-accredited RIMs where the data owner (RIMs or State Governments) has provided permission for it to be shared for use within the NLXP.

Refer to Table 1 within NLXP – Operator Reference Groups for a list of RIMs with crossings in scope of the NLXP.

For level crossings where multiple RIMs have management responsibility, only the Primary RIM’s line section, line segment and rail kilometrage data is available within the NLXP.

Level crossing characteristics sourced from non-ALCAM RIMs represent a snapshot of each level crossing in time, based on the date the information was submitted to ONRSR by the responsible RIM. There is no guarantee that the information presented is current and reflective of the level crossing in the real world.

Furthermore, records of changes to level crossing characteristics over time have not been supplied and are not available within the NLXP. Users should therefore exercise caution when exploring relationships between occurrence history and level crossing characteristics such as primary control type or rail and road traffic data, which may have changed over time.

Data quality of ontology data supplied by RIMs is dependent on the data management regime they have in place. Other than in limited circumstances, any defects present in ontology data provided to ONRSR will flow through to the NLXP. To mitigate this, the NLXP contains 25 separate data quality metrics which provide users with an indication of the quality of level crossing data at their disposal.

Data is only available for crossings managed by non-ALCAM RIMs that are accredited by ONRSR and voluntarily submitted their level crossing data for use within the NLXP.

Refer to Table 1 within NLXP – Operator Reference Groups for a list of RIMs with crossings in scope of the NLXP.

RIM report explanatory notes

In accordance with the data access permissions set out in Table 1 NLXP – Access Levels and Data Attributes, RIM users have full access to data for level crossings that their organisation has management responsibility for, and limited access to data for all other crossings.

Management responsibility at each level crossing in the NLXP is based on the data sourced from ALCAM LXM (for ALCAM RIMs) or directly from RIMs (for non-ALCAM RIMs). Where a RIM is identified in the source data as a Primary RIM or Secondary RIM, they are deemed to have management responsibility for the level crossing. This means that if a RIM is not recorded as a Primary or Secondary RIM in the source data for a level crossing that they are responsible for, a user from that organisation will not have full access to data for that crossing. Conversely, if the Primary or Secondary RIM is erroneously assigned to a level crossing in the source data, a user representing the erroneous RIM will have access to full data for that crossing.

Additional access controls are in place for occurrence description details. Irrespective of the rail infrastructure management responsibility assigned in the source data, RIM users can only access the occurrence descriptions that were notified to ONRSR from their organisation. This means that RIM users will not have access to any corresponding occurrence description submitted by an RSO involved in the same occurrence.

The RIM Report includes a Benchmarking page that compares key level crossing safety performance metrics for the subject RIM against similar networks and the national average. To enable benchmarking functionality within the NLXP, the following reference groups of RIMs with similar networks have been defined:

Reference Group

Description

Passenger

The network primarily supports passenger train operations

Freight

The network primarily supports freight train operations

Mixed

The network routinely supports both passenger and freight train operations

Tourist & Heritage

The network is isolated from the mainline railway and the responsible RIM is designated a Tourist & Heritage operator by ONRSR

Pilbara

Heavy-haul freight networks based in the Pilbara region of Western Australia

For a list of RIMs assigned to each reference group, refer to Table 1 within NLXP – Operator Reference Groups.

Due to the unique nature or small scale of some RIM operations, not all RIMs are assigned to a reference group. For RIMs not assigned, users will only be able to compare safety performance for their organisation against the national average.

Safety performance metrics included in the Benchmarking page cover occurrences reported, risk levels, safety flag counts and data quality indicators. In order to account for variances in both the number of level crossings across different railway networks and the scale of rail and road traffic at level crossings, metrics are expressed as rates using normalising units. For occurrences and risk level metrics, the following normalising units are available to the user:

  • Per number of crossings managed;
  • Per thousand AADT movements at crossings;
  • Per hundred average daily train movements at crossings; and
  • Per million AADT movements x thousand average daily train movements at crossings.

For safety flag and data quality indicator metrics, the normalising unit is the number of crossings managed.

To minimise errors in the source data affecting the rates reported, crossings that fail to meet the following data quality tests are excluded from the relevant rate calculations:

  • Crossings with missing AADT values
  • Crossings with AADT values outside of the range 1 to 100,000
  • Crossings with missing daily volume of trains data
  • Crossings with daily volume of trains data outside of the range 1 to 500

RSO report explanatory notes

In accordance with the data access permissions recorded in NLXP – Access Levels and Data Attributes, RSO users have full access to data for level crossings where their organisation has been involved in an occurrence, and limited access to data for all other crossings.

Occurrence involvement is based on the Involved RSO included in the notifiable occurrence records submitted to ONRSR, regardless of who the notifying operator was.

Additional access controls are in place for occurrence description details. RSO users can only access the occurrence descriptions that were notified to ONRSR from their organisation. This means that RSO users will not have access to any corresponding occurrence description submitted by the RIM involved in the same occurrence.

The RSO Report includes a Benchmarking page that compares the rate of level crossings occurrences involving the subject RSO against similar operations and the national average. To enable benchmarking functionality within the NLXP, the following reference groups of RSOs with similar operations have been defined:

Reference Group

Description

Passenger

The RSO primarily operates passenger trains

Freight

The RSO primarily operates freight trains

Maintenance

The RSO primarily operates maintenance trains

Tourist & Heritage (mainline)

The RSO primarily operates tourist and heritage trains on the mainline railway networks managed by commercial RIMs

Tourist & heritage (isolated)

The RSO primarily operates Tourist and Heritage trains on their own network, isolated from the mainline railway.

Pilbara

The RSO operates heavy-haul freight trains in the Pilbara region of Western Australia

For a list of RSOs assigned to each reference group, refer to Table 2 within NLXP – Operator Reference Groups.

Due to the unique nature or small scale of some RSO operations, not all RSOs are assigned to a reference group. For RSOs not assigned, users will only be able to compare safety performance for their organisation against the national average.

Disclaimer

Due to potential errors in source data, issues of consistency are relevant both within the NLXP reports and between NLXP reports and other information products.

The statistics in the NLXP may differ to other sources that use the same data and coding specifications. This will be due in part to the data collection and preparation methods used to generate the visualisations in the NLXP, which included identification and correction of errors in historical occurrence data.

The statistics presented in the NLXP are subject to review and amendment as more information becomes available through investigation or inquiry, or as source data managers refine systems for data capture and validation. This may result in variations between historical and future versions of the NLXP.