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Patterns of pre-crash behaviour in railway suicides and the effect of corridor fencing: a natural experiment in New South Wales

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  • Shirley Gregor
  • Gary Beavan
  • Adrian Culbert
  • Priscilla Kan John
  • Nguyen Viet Ngo
  • Byron Keating
  • Ruonan Sun
  • Ibrahim Radwan
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/10/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion
Issue number4
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)423-430
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/09/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Suicides on railway systems remain a significant concern world-wide. Understanding patterns of pre-crash behaviour, whether jumping, lying or wandering on tracks, is important for the design of preventative measures, yet prior studies have reported divergent patterns of behaviour. This study tested the hypothesis that higher standards of corridor fencing reduce the proportion of train suicides in the non-jumping category. Data was analyzed as a natural experiment for 171 cases of apparent railway suicides in New South Wales (NSW) for the period 2011–2018. Results were congruent with the hypothesis. A higher level of corridor fencing in metropolitan Sydney was associated with a lower proportion in the non-jumping category (33%) compared with regional areas (74%). The article contributes by showing that: (i) fencing appears to lead to a reduction in some types of rail suicides and thus; (ii) contributes to a lower overall rate of suicide by train; and (iii) even with fencing, the non-jumping incidents warrant attention for appropriate countermeasures.