Level crossing in a "busy" city

This is an old drafted post. Although it is an old news, I think it is still worthed to post today.

Monday afternoon 26 March 2007 “Penataran Train”, an economic class sub-urban train, collided with three cars on Jalan Margorejo Surabaya. Three persons dead and more injured at the accident. According to local papers the accident happen because crossing was not closed. The railwaycrossing is a located next to Jalan Ahmad Yani one of the busiest street in Surabaya.

A survivor said that the crossing was not closed, and the the driver tried to accross the rail track, the driver, a lady, could not avoid the collision because she had been just in the middle of the track and the train came accross. There is a giant banner above the crossing reminding the people to be careful and aware at the railway crossing. Standard marks and traffic signs are available at the crossing.

Train collision happens frequently in Surabaya, there are many victims died and injured. However, accidents happen again and again. Although so many people died due to train collision, it seems that it is very difficult to avoid this type of accident. One of the reason for the high frequency of accident is the fact that most of railway crossings are at grade. Although there are guardians at railway crossings, the guardians can not control everything.

Generally train infrastructures and facilities in most Indonesian cities are not sufficient to provide safety for road users. Most railway crossing were designed 50 years or 60 years ago where urban traffic was very limited. After more than 50 years, urban railway crossings are almost the same with used to be. While traffic volume dramatically increasing. In a very densed traffic, some people do not aware about safety. Surabaya is one of example where most of railway crossings are at grade.

Ideally, at grade crossing are no longer suitable in urban areas. Realistic strategic actions are needed to improve railway infrastuctures, so, gradually at grade crossings can be reduced. It is not easy to have realistic actions since many constraints and barriers in improving railway infrastuctures. While realistic actions to improve infrastructure be implemented, people need to be educated that to understand the importance of safety.

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