Tasotupa was a MA-level project in 2009 I organized together with the old Finnish Rail Authority, which was responsible for managing the railroad tracks. There had been several deaths with the level crossing areas, and they were looking for solutions for making the areas safer. The official approach has been the removal level crossings, or to make them multi-level: this would eliminate the problem altogether. This, however is a slow and expensive process, taking several years. In the meantime, something else is needed.
The course was held with several student teams, and we had the opportunity to visit different accident prone locations, ride trains, observe footages etc. The students interviewed people living next to dangerous level crossings in several locations, and we did observation trips during the autumn to understand how the situations would develop.
From the data, the students created several concepts towards being “near level crossing” safer. Concepts ranged from improving the age old light signals (see below for a miniature scale prototyping), arranging shock-exhibitions about the accidents, trying to effect the emotions of the drivers through the affection of the domestic partner, and installing small radio transceivers to vehicles to communicate the presence of the oncoming train.
The project was well received with the FRA, and the students were very happy about the unique possibility.