Main Hazards for Pedestrians in Tramway Design

Main Hazards for Pedestrians in Tramway Design




The analysis of police accidents reports enables to understand why pedestrians are injured directly by the tramway but also indirectly, that is to say when the tramway plays a role in the accident but is not involved directly.


The current literature shows that tramway leads to a complex urban space and creates specific accidents, particularly for pedestrians.
Moreover the pedestrians have their main characteristics that may involve hazards: they are slow, flexible, fragile, sensitive to their surroundings, they prefer direct paths, they may be inattentive and they may ignore warning signs.
A better understanding of hazards for pedestrians face to tramway is important to improve their safety: why do they cross when the tram is arriving? Haven't they seen the tram? Haven't they seen the rails? Don't they understand the signs? Don't they understand the priority system?

The study dealt with four French cities (Bordeaux, Montpellier, Rouen and Strasbourg) on a period of 3 years. We selected pedestrians accidents that occurred in streets with tramway separated from road traffic. We analysed in-depth all the 190 police accidents reports.
In the first phase we identified the kind of the influence of tramway in the accidents: direct influence when there was a collision between pedestrians and tram and indirect influence when the tramway played a role without participating in the collision.
In the second phase, we identified accidents factors for accidents where the tramway played a role.

In France, 41% of tram accidents involve pedestrians. And the first phase of our project shows that the indirect involvement of tramway in pedestrians accidents is also important. So the pedestrians safety is really a main challenge.
In direct accidents, pedestrians are mostly hit by trams on the first rail they encounter while crossing. The analysis shows that in station, the injured pedestrians didn't perceive the arrival of the tramway. Either they didn't understand the signals, or there was a lack of visibility due to a passenger shelter or vegetation.
Outside station, pedestrians didn't perceive tracks and tramways space. The lack of contrast between the track and the road prevents pedestrians from distinguishing both of them and anticipating the presence of the tramway.
In indirect accidents, the main pedestrians got hurt in station while crossing the street to reach the tram at the station. A major problem is due to the lack of visibility created by a bus stopped in front of the tram station. Pedestrians left the bus, crossed quickly behind and are not seen by a conductor arriving on the street. In other cases, pedestrians had to cross wide streets with a high number of lanes where speed of vehicles may be high. The drivers did not have time to react when pedestrians emerged in front of their vehicle.

This study improves the knowledge of pedestrians accidents in link with tramways. It gives points of vigilance for designers and operators.
It confirms that the stations are a concentrated area of pedestrians accidents.
It highlights how the lack of contrast between the track and the road prevent pedestrians from distinguishing both of them. The position of the tracks and the level of traffic have also to be taken into account in pedestrian safety.


Association for European Transport