Tackling railway suicide

Is it possible to identify people considering self-harm at train stations? JAMES GRUBEL finds out.

Railway suicide is a problem rarely discussed in public, but one that has been around since the early days of rail.

It’s a problem around the world and one that continues to grow across Australia, leaving huge social and emotional scars on thousands of people across the country each year.

Researchers at ANU have now picked up the challenge – they hope to find a way to reduce the number of railway deaths with a world-first project that tackles the problem from several angles.

Led by Professor Byron Keating at the ANU College of Business and Economics, the project will combine the latest monitoring technology with the best evidence and research from experts in business, operations management, psychology, mental health, information systems, computer science and communications.

“We have one simple aim – to find a way to reduce the number of incidents which clearly have devastating impacts, not only on the individuals, but also on their families and friends,” he says.