The Victorian Government has partnered with La Trobe University, motor industry group AutoCRC and the rail industry to develop new technology to warn vehicles when they are nearing level crossings.
Roads Minister Tim Pallas said that the technology would utilise mobile phone networks and in-car GPS units.
"By supporting this $4 million project, the Brumby Labor Government is recognising the huge improvements this could deliver for road and community safety," Mr Pallas said.
"Using mobile-phone-style wireless networks, integrated with GPS, the new technology will have cars and trains talking to each other and able to warn of approaching danger from up to one kilometre away."
"No where else in the world is the trial of this particular technology being proposed to the extent that we are doing in Victoria and focusing on its level crossing safety applications."
Mr Pallas said that research conducted as part of the project estimated the technology could save around 40 lives at road level crossings everywhere (nationwide). It would also save more than $100 million in trauma costs by eliminating rail crossing collisions.
"The research team hopes to have such technology available in three years and we expect this technology to have benefits particularly in rural and regional Victoria," he said.
"Our Government has invested $500,000 in this project because we believe this research will bring about change and take a leading role in the development of intelligent transport systems and the smart cars of the future."
Mr Pallas added that the Victorian Government has allocated $100 million for level crossing upgrades and $440 million for a grade separation program.