Making Level-Crossing Accidents Impossible:  Every year more than 1,000 people die at level crossings around the world. The true impact, however, to individuals, families and communities is impossible to measure. In 2009, the people of QR National, the largest railroad in Australia, decided that enough was enough. They committed to achieve the ambitious goal of making level crossing accidents impossible. They partnered with Synecticsworld to facilitate their people to breakthrough innovations in rail safety.  The video below gives an outline of the impact on the organization in terms of innovative solutions and the lasting ingenuity and agility of the organization and it’s people.

Synecticsworld QR National Code Red Campaign.


Synecticsworld’s iPower5 Insight Methodology: To create the kind of new solutions that were required for this task, a team was formed that brought together expertise from across all of QRNational’s organization. The team included train drivers, engineers, community impact specialists, supply chain analysts and many others. They convened in Brisbane, Australia to work with the Synecticsworld team to use their combined expertise to stop level crossing accidents once and for all.

Because an estimated 95% of all level crossing accidents are due to crosser error, Synecticsworld designed the campaign to help the QRNational team first focus on understanding, broadly, human behaviors where risk-taking is involved. The QRNational team engaged with everyday crossers, one-on-one, to understand what underlies the types of risky behaviors that we all undertake on a daily basis. Synecticsworld also designed working sessions for the QRNational team with sky divers, an explosives expert, a stock trader, and others who make risk-taking part of their daily lives; and enabled the QRNational team to explore their own feelings of the fear and exhilaration that risk brings by rappelling, meeting with gang members, and taking part in a paint ball competition.

These experiences were crafted into a series of Insights into driver behaviors using Synecticsworld’s proprietary iPower5 Insight methodology. These Insights became the basis for the invention work that the team engaged in as the next step. The team knew that if they could create solutions that would activate these key Insights, they could create new solutions that would keep crossers from putting themselves in harm’s way.



One of the Insights into crosser behavior is that they want clear information so that they can make more informed choices. From this the team wished for, “an individual valet that would park each car when a train is coming so the driver didn’t need to,” and led to the creation of, the “Valet,” a new approach to marking level crossings, providing earlier, more visible warnings for crossers.

Valet is a runway-like lighting system, built into the roadway, starting at 150 meters before the crossing. As a train approaches, the lights begin flashing and directing you to stop at a safe distance from the crossing. Valet will be particularly helpful for crossers at crossings with frequent foggy or inclement conditions, curves in the roadway, or where trucks or other heavy equipment need more time to slow down than conventional crossing technology provides.  Watch the above video for more outcomes.

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