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RAIB Accident Report - Manchester Market Street

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theblackwatch

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The RAIB has just published a report into an accident last year involving a tram and pedestrian. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/...on-between-a-tram-and-a-pedestrian-manchester for link to the full pdf.

Summary

At about 11:13 hrs on Tuesday 12 May 2015, a tram collided with and seriously injured a pedestrian, shortly after leaving Market Street tram stop in central Manchester. The pedestrian had just alighted from the tram and was walking along the track towards Piccadilly.

The accident occurred because the pedestrian did not move out of the path of the tram and because the driver did not apply the tram’s brakes in time to avoid striking the pedestrian.

Interesting to note how CCTV has been useful in following up this incident, with the events being able to be recorded to the second.
 
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exile

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The RAIB has just published a report into an accident last year involving a tram and pedestrian. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/...on-between-a-tram-and-a-pedestrian-manchester for link to the full pdf.



Interesting to note how CCTV has been useful in following up this incident, with the events being able to be recorded to the second.

The driver of a tram I was on used the horn (rather than the whistle) to avoid such an accident. Whether or not he was authorised to use it for street running it had the desired effect!
 

WatcherZero

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Notable despite the massive increase in services the number of pedestrian collisions has been falling over the last decade, though the number of near misses has risen.
 

Bletchleyite

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The driver of a tram I was on used the horn (rather than the whistle) to avoid such an accident. Whether or not he was authorised to use it for street running it had the desired effect!

I believe it's intended for exactly that - first you get a friendly toot, then a proper "get out of the way" scream.
 

nerd

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Notable despite the massive increase in services the number of pedestrian collisions has been falling over the last decade, though the number of near misses has risen.

Not sure WZ; the graph has 'normalised' for the increase in tram movments - hence the numbers plotted pre 2011 are upscaled pro-rata.
 
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On recent visits to Manchester and particularly around Piccadilly Gardens I felt that the whistle was used so much that it became part of the background noise.

The result was that if I heard a whistle my first thought wasn't that there may be a tram behind me.

Perhaps this is where the horn comes in...
 

Altfish

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On recent visits to Manchester and particularly around Piccadilly Gardens I felt that the whistle was used so much that it became part of the background noise.

The result was that if I heard a whistle my first thought wasn't that there may be a tram behind me.

Perhaps this is where the horn comes in...

As a pedestrian, as soon as you step off the pavement you have to look out for cars, buses, trams, etc.
Yes, the whistles are used regularly but it is no worse than the use of car horns in many European cities.
 
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As a pedestrian, as soon as you step off the pavement you have to look out for cars, buses, trams, etc.

Quite. But it should be noted (and it is referred to in RAIB's report) that much of that area is a "shared space" and the boundary between pavement and road/tramway is not at all clear. Being a "shared space" is bound to change the way that pedestrians think of the space, meaning that they might not realise when they "step off the pavement" and also that they might act differently once they do.

Yes, the whistles are used regularly but it is no worse than the use of car horns in many European cities.

I'm not sure that's true, really. Even if it is, who's to say those anonymous European cities don't have the same problem with pedestrians "tuning out" the car horns?
 

edwin_m

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The demarcation of tramway swept path in areas like Piccadilly Gardens isn't so much for the pedestrians, it's more for the tram drivers to be able to see if there is anyone at risk of being struck.

The photo in the report is a little misleading, showing the whole area soaking wet (perhaps they couldn't wait for a dry day in Manchester?) so any colour contrast isn't visible. I took a look at it yesterday and there is a small colour contrast along with a variation in the pattern of the paving, but it's not obvious unless you set out to look for it.
 

nerd

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The demarcation of tramway swept path in areas like Piccadilly Gardens isn't so much for the pedestrians, it's more for the tram drivers to be able to see if there is anyone at risk of being struck.

The photo in the report is a little misleading, showing the whole area soaking wet (perhaps they couldn't wait for a dry day in Manchester?) so any colour contrast isn't visible. I took a look at it yesterday and there is a small colour contrast along with a variation in the pattern of the paving, but it's not obvious unless you set out to look for it.

the texture of the shared swept path paving is clearly different from that for the footway paving; and there is a noticeable. shallow, curb differntiating the former (which is also also different in colour).

But none of this was relevant to the incident in question, as there is no suggestion that the pedestrian was unaware that he was walking through shared space. Nor is there any suggestion that he was sensory impaired, distracted by his moblie phone, or acting in any unusual or unpredictable manner.

The collision happened because the driver was not paying attention to where he was going - simple as that.

- if the driver had been paying attention to where he was going, the collision would not have occurred;

- such accidents could then be reliably prevented in the future, if all drivers pay attention to where they are going;

- no system of street-running trams can be safe if drivers are not paying attention to where they are going; there is no techological fix that can compensate for driver inattention.

Of course, you can always design a light rail system from the outset not to need driver attention; as you can from the outset fit platform-edge barriers and gates to prevent passengers from accessing the track except where there is a vehicle in place at the stop.

But that would be a different system entirely; and even so, would not eliminate safety issues, as any such system would imply underground or elevated running - and hence risks from stair/elevator access for crowds in confined spaces.
 
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talltim

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As an occasional visitor to Manchester I find the area around Piccadilly Gardens quite frightening from an avoiding trams point of view. The multiple junctions and apparent randomness of the layout means that it is not obvious where a tram might appear from.
The 'shared space' on the Sheffield system is much better, pretty much all pedestrian traffic on the track is people crossing directly from one side to the other.
 

voyagerdude220

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The two points I picked up on, whilst reading the report are that:

1) Why was the pedestrian walking along the track in the first place, when there's plenty of space either side of it?

2) Why was the tram driver involved asked to drive the incident van back to the depot? Surely that's very unfair on the driver, as I'd assume they'd be rather shaken, after being involved in an incident like this? I understand the problem with insurance etc. but I still feel Metrolink still shouldn't have asked the tram driver to drive the van back to the depot.
 

Greybeard33

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From my observations, many pedestrians in the Piccadilly Gardens area make no attempt to avoid the tram swept path, regarding it as just part of the general pedestrianised area. And many are oblivious to the tram whistles due to use of headphones/earphones and/or the general background hubbub. In my view this places too much reliance on the tram drivers predicting pedestrian behaviour and judging when to make an emergency stop (which could throw passengers off their feet and cause injuries). The RAIB found that, over the past 11 years, there have been an average of five collisions per year between trams and pedestrians in this area, plus an average of eight reported near misses. The number of trams passing through has increased substantially as the Metrolink system has grown, and total tram movements through the Gardens in all directions will be at least 60/hr when all the extensions are completed.

I believe that a greater contrast in colour and texture between the paving in the swept path and the adjacent area, plus demarcation of designated pedestrian crossing paths by a change in colour/texture, would discourage pedestrians from walking on the tracks and encourage them to look both ways before crossing.

Shared space should mean shared responsibility to avoid collisions.
 

stevescan

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When I drove for Merrolink we were under instruction not use the seg horn in street running as it caused complaints, yet the street horn very rarely achieved any result, so myself and other drivers often had to resort to it, factor in the general numptiness of the average pedestrian wandering around totally oblivious or texting, parents allowing children to run loose without any awareness of the environment or yet again texting and driving through the city centre was an interesting experience.
 
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