The Residents' Association is given to understand that Network Rail is to install new technology at the Green Lane Crossing to highlight those persons using headphones or a mobile phone and thus paying less attention to personal safety.
Following a relatively recent near-miss incident in which a young lady walked in front of a train because she was distracted listening to music on her headphones, this crossing has been chosen by Network Rail as one of the pilot sites for new technology.
Geo fencing allows Network Rail to flag a warning to users as they approach a level crossing. Basically, at 250 meters from a high risk crossing, if the users are using social media or streaming music, the user will get a gentle warning, at 100 meters they will get a more strident warning and at 50 meters they will get a message telling them to remove their headphones and out their device away.
A layman’s explanation of this system is that around the crossing there will be a ‘Virtual’ fence (imagine a doughnut with a bigger doughnut round it and an even bigger one round that). When you step into the biggest doughnut you get a general level crossing safety message but, only if you are on a social network already. The middle doughnut would give a bit of a stronger message and the smallest doughnut would advise you to take your earphones out and put your phone away.
It will never grab the users attention if they are not using their phones. It’s only delivered to people using their phones already. This means Network Rail can target it to our main high risk users. It is emphasised that this still does not negate the risk posed at Green Lane but will aid if and when applicable.
Bearing in mind the circumstances of the near-miss incident this can only make use of the crossing safer for residents.
The crossing is adjudged as High Risk due to the numbers of trains crossing and pedestrian usage. We understand there are on average 221 trains passing each day plus some 200+ pedestrian crossings.
This Right of Way crossing is an essential link between the north and south of Ashtead as evidenced by the average usage, and the Association is grateful to Network Rail for recognising this and seeking to improve safety without resorting to the draconian measure of seeking crossing closure which would be very unpopular.