Enhanced Safety Measures along the Southwest
Commission du transport en commun
April 9, 2014
9 avril 2014
Steve Kanellakos, Deputy City Manager / Directeur adjoint - City Operations /
Larry O’Keefe, General Manager / Directeur générale – Public Works Department /
Service des Travaux publics
613-580-2400 x 13769 – Larry.O’[email protected]
Ward: CITY WIDE / À L'ÉCHELLE DE LA
File Number: ACS2014-COS-PWS-0010
SUBJECT: Enhanced Safety Measures to Southwest Transitway
Amélioration des mesures de sécurité au Transitway Sud-Ouest
That Transit Commission receive this report on enhanced safety measures on the
Southwest Transitway for information.
RECOMMANDATIONS DU RAPPORT
Que la Commission du transport en commun reçoive ce rapport sur l'amélioration
des mesures de sécurité au Transitway Sud-Ouest à titre informatif.
This report provides the Transit Commission with a summary of work undertaken by the
Public Works Department to provide enhanced safety measures on the Southwest
Transitway. As a result of an external review by the firm CIMA+, which has expertise in
this area, City staff have planned the installation of a “RAILWAY CROSSING AHEAD”
sign as well as a single flashing amber beacon on the northbound approach to the VIA
Rail at-grade crossing with the Transitway. A risk assessment and safety review by
CIMA+ is currently ongoing with respect to whether a similar sign would be
recommended on the southbound approach on the Transitway. As well, they are
undertaking a speed limit regulation review of the Transitway in the vicinity of this
crossing as further described in this report. In addition, the City and VIA Rail have
implemented joint Standard Operating Procedures to ensure safe operations during a
railway crossing malfunction, including a communications protocol between both
These various measures address observations and recommendations received from the
Transportation Safety Board (TSB) in a technical briefing last October and noted in its
two safety advisory letters further described below.
Le présent rapport fournit à la Commission du transport en commun un résumé des
travaux entrepris par le Service des travaux publics en vue d’améliorer les mesures de
sécurité sur le Transitway Sud-Ouest. Par suite d’un examen externe réalisé par la
firme CIMA+, qui bénéficie d’une expertise en la matière, le personnel de la Ville a
planifié l’installation d’un « PANNEAU AVANCÉ DE PASSAGE À NIVEAU » et d’un
clignotant orange simple sur la voie d’accès en direction nord menant au passage à
niveau de VIA Rail sur le Transitway. La firme CIMA+ procède actuellement à une
évaluation des risques et à un examen de la sécurité, afin de déterminer si un panneau
similaire devrait être installé sur la voie d’accès au Transitway en direction sud. De plus,
CIMA+ effectue un examen de la réglementation en matière de limitation de vitesse sur
le Transitway, aux environs de ce passage à niveau, tel que décrit plus en détail dans le
présent rapport. Par ailleurs, la Ville et VIA Rail ont mis en place des procédures
conjointes d’utilisation normalisée afin de garantir la sécurité des opérations en cas de
dysfonctionnement du passage à niveau, notamment un protocole de communication
entre les deux parties.
Ces diverses mesures tiennent compte des observations et recommandations faites par
le Bureau de la sécurité des transports (BST) lors d’une séance d’information technique
en octobre dernier, et notées dans ses deux avis de sécurité décrits plus loin.
As outlined in the March 12, 2014 Memorandum of the Deputy City Manager, City
Operations Portfolio to Members of the Commission and to City Council, this report
provides information relating to work conducted by the Public Works Department in
consultation with other City departments, external engineers, and VIA Rail Canada to
provide enhanced safety measures on the Southwest Transitway. These measures are
also responsive both to the TSB’s observations relayed to the City on October 11, 2013
through its technical briefing and to the TSB’s two February 25th, 2014 advisory letters
to the City.
Pursuant to the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act,
the TSB is conducting an investigation into the September 18th, 2013 bus-train collision
at the Southwest Transitway. At a technical briefing held on October 11th, 2013, the TSB
relayed to the City observations it had made in relation to the railway-Transitway
crossing. Furthermore, on February 25th, 2014 the TSB provided the City with two
advisory letters: one relating to OC Transpo bus operating procedures and the other
relating to communications protocols between the City and VIA Rail. As indicated at the
time, the observations and advisories should not be considered orders or directions
from the TSB, nor should they be interpreted as being comments on the possible
contributing factors or causes of the collision that occurred on September 18th, 2013.
The following provides information on the work that the Public Works Department has
undertaken over the course of the last six months, in consultation with other City
departments, external engineers, and VIA Rail, in relation to the observations and
advisories by the TSB.
TSB Observations of October 11, 2013
On October 16th, 2013, the City Manager reported to the Transit Commission on the
October 11th, 2013 technical briefing by the TSB. The City had received four
observations from the TSB which the City acted upon in order to enhance safety in the
area of the railway crossing and approach. In October 2013, the City conducted work to
address three of the observations as follows:
Forestry Services carried out the removal and trimming of some vegetation in
the crossing/Transitway area in order to enhance the overall visibility of the
crossing and Transitway approaches;
Public Works and OC Transpo implemented a speed reduction, from 60 km/h
to 50 km/h, for northbound and southbound traffic on the Transitway in the
vicinity of the rail crossing to enhance safety, as it could increase reaction
and braking time at this location on the Transitway;
Public Works and OC Transpo made enhancements to signage in the area of
the crossing and approach in order to facilitate the speed reduction
The fourth observation relayed to Transit Commission at its meeting of October 16th,
2013 related to consideration of an advanced warning signal (flashing light) in advance
of the crossing to provide enhanced notice and visibility for northbound traffic. At that
time, staff advised the Transit Commission that coordination would be required with the
railroad company, VIA Rail Inc., and that a timetable for consultation on this work was
In November 2013, the Public Works Department retained the engineering firm of
CIMA+ to undertake a risk assessment and safety review of the feasibility of installing
an advance warning light at the Southwest Transitway’s northbound approach to the
VIA Rail at-grade crossing at Mile 3.28 of the Smiths Falls Subdivision. In March 2014,
CIMA+ submitted a Technical Memorandum on the operation of an Active Advanced
Warning Sign (AAWS). The Technical Memorandum is attached as Document 1.
CIMA+ has recommended the installation of a “RAILWAY CROSSING AHEAD” sign
and single flashing amber beacon on top of the sign. The beacon will flash continually
and, as a result, does not have to be connected to the at-grade crossing device. CIMA+
concludes that this is the preferred option given its “stand alone” capability that does not
require railway crossing interconnection and the fact that it increases and enhances the
sign’s visibility and advanced warning message. The sign with a continuously flashing
amber beacon will be installed 210m in advance of the crossing on the northbound
The Public Works Department concurs with the recommendations outlined in the
Technical Memorandum. As well, VIA Rail, who participated during all phases of this
review, have reviewed the Technical Memorandum and concur with its
As a result of the review and recommendations by CIMA+, the Public Works
Department is taking steps to implement the recommended continuous operation of a
“RAILWAY CROSSING AHEAD” sign with a single continuously flashing amber beacon
on top. The Department expects that the continuously flashing amber beacon will be in
operation by May 15th, 2014. Staff has communicated with the TSB on this item.
TSB Advisory Letter of February 25, 2014 - Standard Operating Procedures
addressing situations of unusual activations or malfunctions of crossing
In response to the TSB’s February 25th, 2014 advisory letter, the City of Ottawa and VIA
Rail have developed and implemented joint Standard Operating Procedures to better
ensure safe operations during a railway crossing malfunction. These procedures
include a joint communications protocol to ensure that both organizations are aware of,
and are better communicating with, each other in the event of an unplanned malfunction
of the railway company’s devices. Should these devices malfunction, they are designed
to malfunction in a fail-safe manner to ensure safety and protection at railway crossings.
Furthermore, an enhanced process to communicate information of such occurrences to
the general public is now in place.
TSB Advisory Letter of February 25, 2014 - Measures to ensure that buses can
safely stop in advance of an activated railway crossing signal
In addition to the work that the City has taken in response to the TSB observations of
October 11th, 2013, the City also engaged CIMA+ to undertake a risk assessment and
safety review to determine if the installation of an active advanced warning sign on the
southbound approach on the Transitway to the rail crossing will enhance the safety of
this crossing and approach. CIMA+ will also undertake a speed limit regulation review of
the Transitway in the vicinity of this crossing. The current speed limit in the vicinity is 50
km/h. This assignment includes reviewing available provincial and federal standards
and guidelines and best practices; assessing available data and information such as
design drawings, design criteria, photos and videos of the area; and developing
recommendations based on the available industry standards and guidelines and the
City’s current policies and standards.
It is expected that this assignment will be completed by the end of April 2014, at which
time the General Manager of the Public Works Department will provide a memo to
Council and the Transit Commission on any findings resulting from this study and any
associated work plan.
There are no rural implications associated with this report.
The work undertaken to date and described in this report results from expert external
revisions and recommendations, and did not require public consultation. The report of
the external experts was shared with the TSB.
COMMENTS BY THE WARD COUNCILLOR(S)
This is a City-wide report.
There are no legal impediments to receiving this report for information.
RISK MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS
The work undertaken to date and described in this report results from observations
received from the TSB and external expert review and recommendations. The work
that has been and will be implemented will enhance public safety on the Southwest
There are no financial implications to the Public Works Department operating budget.
Funding for the independent assessments and the installation of signage is available in
Transit Services capital account # 906948, Transit Priorities.
There are no accessibility impacts resulting from the work described in this report.
There are no technology implications associated with the report recommendation.
TERM OF COUNCIL PRIORITIES
The work described in this report aligns with the Term of Council Strategic Priorities –
TM3 – Provide Infrastructure to support mobility choices and GP1 – Improve the public’s
confidence and satisfaction in the way the City works.
Document 1 – Technical Memo from CIMA+ - issued separately and held on file
The Public Works Department will implement the measures outlined in this report.