Progress is not being made on the longstanding problem of collisions between people and trains at rail level crossings. It has been suggested that this may be, in part, due to a lack of systems thinking during design, crash analysis, and countermeasure development. This paper presents a systems analysis of current rail level crossing systems in Australia that was undertaken specifically to identify safety-related issues in rail level crossing environments. Cognitive work analysis was used to analyze current rail level crossing systems based on data derived from a range of focused data collection activities. The analysis identified various issues potentially impacting behavior and safety across the different users of rail level crossings. In addition, potential areas for improvement through redesign were highlighted. An important implication of the study is that improvements in behavior and safety may be achievable through changes to the overall rail level crossing system (e.g. values, goals, norms, data systems) as opposed to changes to the physical rail level crossing infrastructure only. The implications for future rail level crossing design activities are discussed.