Improving the understanding of SPAD risks using red aspect approach data

Yunshi Zhao, Julian Stow, Chris Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes a novel technique for estimating the frequency with which trains approach signals showing a red aspect. This knowledge is potentially important for understanding the likelihood of a signal being passed at danger (SPAD) at individual signals and also for normalisation of SPAD data, both locally and nationally, for trending and benchmarking. The industry currently uses estimates for the number of red aspect approaches based on driver surveys, which are considered to have significant shortcomings. Data for this analysis is sourced from publicly available live feeds provided by Network Rail which give information on train movements and signal states. The development of the analysis model is described and a case study presented. The case proves that there are large variations in the red approach rates between individual signals. SPAD risk assessment at individual signals may be significantly enhanced by the ability to estimate red approach rates for individual signals using the techniques described.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-212
Number of pages14
JournalSafety and Reliability
Issue number3
Early online date29 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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