RAIB release report into Supertram pedestrian fatality

On 22nd December 2016 a pedestrian, who had just alighted from a tram at Woodbourn Road, was struck by a tram in Sheffield tragically suffering fatal injuries as a result. Following a 9 month investigation the RAIB have now released their report into the incident, including recommendations on how to try and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future across the UK’s tram systems.

The incident happened at 1002 on 22nd December as the pedestrian crossed the track using the crossing at the northern end of Woodbourn Road tramstop. The pedestrian had just got off an inbound tram to Middlewood with the tram which hit him running to Meadowhall. As there was no-one waiting to board at the stop and no-one had requested to alight the outbound tram was running non-stop through the platform.

The tram driver did not see the pedestrian approaching the crossing and up until shortly before she spotted the pedestrian his attention was focussed on looking in the tram’s mirrors. The tram didn’t give an audible warning as it travelled through the stop and the pedestrian seemed not to be aware that the tram was approaching as he crossed the tracks. The RAIB suggests that another reason for the driver not being aware of the pedestrian was because the driver was wearing sunglasses and the pedestrian was in a shaded area. It is also suggested that Stagecoach Supertram had not assessed the risk of trams running non-stop through stops and that there were inconsistencies between the training and assessments for new tram drivers when making non-stop movements through tramstops.

Since this tragic incident Stagecoach Supertram has taken action to mandate audible warnings for all non-stop movements through stops and to reduce driver distraction due to looking in mirrors. The risk assessment has also been updated and implemented measures to reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians.

Despite these actions already taken the RAIB have made two recommendations:

* Stagecoach Supertram should continue to work to review its training material against its operational standards so they are consistent.

* Addressed to all UK tram operators – the setting up of an industry working group to monitor the development and application of new pedestrian detection technology to alert drivers to potential collisions with pedestrians

* The full RAIB can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/647244/R132017_170927_Woodbourn_Road.pdf.

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