Research team contacts

Principal Researcher:
Associate Researcher:

Dr Christopher Watling, School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences, QUT

Industry partner:

Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation

What is the purpose of this research?

This research is investigating the benefits of sounding train horns at level crossings in alerting drivers of the approach of a train when experiencing a range of possible conditions and types of rail level crossings (stop sign / flashing lights with bells) using real life simulated scenarios. This simulation study is looking at your decisions and behaviour as you experience a range of conditions at different rail crossings focusing on worst (loud ambient noise; ventilation, radio playing) and best-case case scenarios (no other traffic/noise around). This research is also looking is at the effect of sleepiness and the difference between daytime and evening environmental sounds (less traffic and noise) encountering the train horn sound at railway level crossings.

Are you looking for people like me?

The research team is inviting people who:

  • are over 18
  • have a valid Queensland (or interstate/international equivalent) driver licence (Open or Provisional)
  • drive a minimum of 3 times per week.
  • are contactable via mobile and/or email.
  • not participating in this study as a pedestrian
  • not diagnosed with epilepsy or pregnant.

What will you ask me to do?

Your participation will involve one or two study sessions, each session will take up to 2 hours duration. Sessions take place at Kelvin Grove QUT campus. Each session will include driving approximately 75 minutes in the CARRS-Q Advanced driving simulator and completing a survey of approximately 20 minutes duration.

Before each of the study driving scenarios and at the conclusion you will be asked to identify how sleepy you feel on a scale of extremely alert to extremely sleepy. Eye tracking glasses will be worn to record data while you are driving, no images of yourself are collected as part of this process.

The study will use a Think Aloud Protocol to spontaneously identify what you see or experience; I.e. when the crossing lights activate, you hear the train horn, what you see pedestrians, truck, car, train. These comments will be recorded. After the driving tasks the survey will ask some brief demographics questions and about your experiences during the driving scenarios. All of the data you provide will be anonymous identified only by a code.

You may nominate that you are available for 1 session (daytime) or 2 sessions (1 morning and 1 evening session). If you nominate to complete the 2 separate sessions it is preferred that you complete both sessions on the same day or consecutive days.

Are there any risks for me in taking part?

There are some risks associated with your participation in this project.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with epilepsy or who are pregnant/think they may be pregnant, are ineligible to participate. There is the potential for some individuals to experience discomfort when driving the simulator. People who suffer from motion sickness, migraines, or vertigo may be especially vulnerable to experiencing simulator sickness. Please carefully consider your personal situation and health condition/s in deciding whether you should participate.

If you decide to participate in an evening session of the study, you may request for the research officer to organise a QUT security officer to accompany you to your vehicle or the bus station at the end of the session.

To reduce the risk of inconvenience of coming into QUT only to be advised that the session cannot progress because of an issue with the equipment or Covid-19 you are asked to provide a contact number to participate in the study.

Are there any benefits for me in taking part?

It is expected that this research project will not directly benefit yourself, other than a sense of satisfaction for helping with this research. The main benefits of this study are for rail and road safety research and policy.

Will I be compensated for my time?

To compensate you for your contribution you will receive a $50 Coles/Myer voucher at the conclusion of each of the simulator data collection sessions. QUT psychology students enrolled in PYB100 or PYB102 have the option to receive course credit (3 course credit points) on completion of their first study session and to receive a $50 Coles/Myer voucher at the completion of a second session. If for any reason you are unable to complete the study session you will receive $10 Coles Myer voucher or 1 course credit point.

I am interested - what should I do next?

If you are interested in participating in this study, please email Wanda Griffin

QUT Ethics Number: 5265