Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail are working together to make railway level crossings on or near state highways around New Zealand safer for all road users.

To prevent deaths and serious injuries at level crossings, we’re installing a range of low-cost safety improvements, such as barrier arms and flashing lights and bells to give motorists, cyclists and pedestrians warning of approaching trains.

These safety improvements are being delivered as part of Road to Zero, to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on New Zealand's roads.

Safety treatment Description
Flashing lights and bells Flashing lights and bells send a clear warning to drivers and pedestrians that a train is coming. We can also replace bells that are turned off at night with ones that operate whenever a train is approaching. This ensures people get a warning at any time, day or night. The sound can be contained to an area close to the crossing to avoid disturbing nearby residents.
Barrier arms  Half arm barriers mean vehicles need to stop till the train has passed. They come down ahead of the train and only rise once the train has passed.

Signs and markings Improved signs and markings are a simple but effective way to warn drivers that they’re approaching a level crossing.
View lines and vegetation clearing By cutting back vegetation and moving poles or anything else that blocks a driver’s view, we can make it easier for them to see the level crossing and ensure they have plenty of time to stop.
Guardrails Guardrails along the road leading up to a crossing keep drivers from straying off the road. They also protect level crossing safety equipment like lights and signals from vehicles and make it safer for our staff to do maintenance on this equipment.
Streetlights Adding more lighting around level crossings helps make sure people are more aware of the crossing at night and helps them see a train coming.
Pedestrian mazes A pedestrian maze is a specially designed walkway to slow people down before they walk over tracks, prompting them to look up and down the track before crossing.
Pedestrian pavement lights These are lights set into the ground within a pedestrian maze. They flash when a train is coming to warn pedestrians who are looking down or at their phones.
Pedestrian gates Automatic pedestrian gates close when a train is approaching to stop people walking onto the tracks. They automatically open once the train has passed.
Active warning signs These are road signs with flashing lights to give drivers advanced warning that they’re approaching a crossing or a queue of vehicles.
Improving the crossing surface Improving the crossing surface means a smoother drive over the level crossing and reduces the risk of loss of control crashes. It also protects the surface from wear and tear from heavy vehicles.
Rubber panels Rubber panels around the rail tracks make them easier to walk or drive across.
Escape bay Where there’s a risk traffic might back up over a crossing, an extra bay, known as an escape bay gives drivers a space to move into if they get blocked in on the rail line.
Slip lane When a crossing is on a side road that comes off a busy main road, we can use a slip lane – an extra lane on the main road that drivers can pull into before turning. This reduces the risk of a big queue backing up into the main road when a train is coming.