Tram and vehicle crashes reduced by 47 per cent on Collins Street

Monday 18 August 2014

  • 47 per cent reduction in vehicle to tram accidents on Collins Street compared to this time last year
  • Motorists reminded in Rail Safety Week to stay clear of tram tracks
  • Further separation measures to be installed in Collins Street later this year

Tram safety has improved on Collins Street with a 47 per cent reduction in vehicle to tram accidents between Spring and Spencer Streets.

The number of collisions has dropped to just 16 in the first seven months of this year, from 30 over the same period last year, and from 35 in 2012.

New safety kerbs installed on Collins Street in March are contributing to the reduction in the number of accidents and improving tram safety in the CBD.

The bright yellow safety kerbs, which are 50 millimetres high, separate vehicles from tram tracks.

The data was announced during Rail Safety Week, along with news that a further $316,000 will be invested in raised bluestone kerbing on Collins Street between Spencer Street and the Victoria Harbour tram terminus.

As part of Rail Safety Week, the Victorian Coalition Government and Yarra Trams appealed to motorists to take care when driving around trams, stay clear of the yellow line and always check for trams before turning.

Yarra Trams Chief Executive Officer, Clément Michel, said the reduction in collisions was welcome news, but more work remains to be done.

"Halving the number of collisions in this area means half the number of tram drivers, passengers and motorists potentially being injured, and half the number of their families who have to receive a phone call saying their loved one has been involved in an accident," Mr Michel said.

"Across the tram network we are seeing a decreasing trend in tram to vehicle collisions, from an average of 74 per month in 2012 to 65 per month in 2014.

"We will continue to raise awareness of tram safety because the safety of our passengers, employees and other road users is always our highest priority."

The most common causes of collisions, which the raised kerbs aim to eliminate, are motorists performing U-turns or right turns in front of trams, which can weigh as much as 30 rhinos.

There are three main consequences of a tram to vehicle collision, including:

  • risk of serious injury or death to motorists or passengers caused by high speed impact;
  • risk of serious injury to tram passengers caused by falls when emergency brakes are applied; and
  • potential for extended delays or diversions to the tram network.

Near-collisions can also pose a danger to tram passengers if the tram driver is forced to apply the emergency brake due to a vehicle crossing the tracks.

Around 80 per cent of Melbourne's tram network shares its track space with road vehicles.