Level Crossings Are Becoming Safer
State JSC Latvian Railway holds altogether 709 level crossings, 68 of them are attended. There are 28 level crossings in Riga, 14 of them are attended.
If one wishes to obtain total number of level crossings in Latvia, he should summarize the above level crossings with the level crossings of other companies (e.g. port), which are located on railway branches of those companies.
These level crossings were installed mostly during the previous century, before and after the World War II when intensity of transport traffic was significantly lower than today. Often, level crossings are located in places where auto transport should cross several rail tracks or a level crossing is located near station tracks, which extends period for blocking of auto transport traffic.
Attended level crossings with protective barriers are installed in places where visibility of crossed railway track is deteriorated for auto transport, and in places where the intensity of traffic is high.
Certainly, as for traffic safety and convenience for auto drivers, the best railway crossing is two level crossings, e.g. overpass or tunnel. This solution requires big financial resources, which railway company does not posses.
Therefore other solutions are proposed for auto transport drivers to make traffic on level crossings more convenient and safe:
Waiting periods for auto transport at level crossings and frequency of close-ups of level crossings are depended on train speed and traffic intensity on definite railway section. From the point of view of traffic safety, periods of close-ups at level crossings in order for trains to pass cannot be decreased substantially, because train cannot drive around obstacles unlike cars. Upon seeing the obstacle train driver can only break. But train’s breaking distance is significantly longer than the one of a car, reaching 300 – 700 meters, depending on speed and weight of specific train.