The 25th European Level Crossing Forum (ELCF) plenary meeting was held online on 18 March. Allan Spence of Network Rail, the Chair of the ELCF, welcomed 44 participants from 17 countries, not only in Europe but also the USA, Argentina and Japan, as well as DB Netz, a new member from Germany.
The ELCF members heard that a taskforce on level crossing risk assessment methods is to be set up as part of its work programme, and will be led by Rob Wainwright (Network Rail) and Alain Autruffe (SNCF Réseau), supported by UIC. Its main objectives will be to conduct benchmarking and publish a UIC handbook in 2022. A questionnaire will be sent shortly, and the results will be analysed between July and October and presented at the next ELCF meeting on 4-5 November. Volunteers were invited to join the taskforce.
Karen McClure, Economist at the US Federal Railway Administration, presented a new accident prediction model for level/grade crossings.
Virginie Taillandier of SNCF presented an innovation project, the Smart Level Crossing project, which aims to improve the safety of rail and road systems without compromising train regularity. The level crossing must become interactive with its environment by integrating new means of communication and must interact with the road in accordance with the arrival of connected vehicles.
The next presentation was by Iñigo Zorriketa, Director at Begirale Controlling Risk. Mr Zorriketa explained that Basque railway infrastructure manager ETS had decided in 2016 to carry out tests on artificial vision technology to detect obstacles at level crossings. Five years later, the system automatically supervises 23 level crossings on the ETS network, with a record of zero accidents. Mr Zorriketa’s presentation demonstrated the success of the project and the main characteristics of the product.
Alain Autruffe of SNCF Réseau then presented the results of a questionnaire launched recently on GPS providers and the European ODbL license. He also shared the results of a second questionnaire on audible or visual warning equipment used at level crossings to warn pedestrians of an incoming train from another direction.
Following this presentation, members were reminded that a questionnaire had been sent to ELCF members in early 2021 to propose a new name and abbreviation for the group: Global Level Crossing Network (GLCN), with a new logo. The UIC Safety Platform members had endorsed this at its online meeting on 11 March. The proposal was further endorsed by the ELCF members. Thus, from 18 March 2021, the ELCF will be known as the GLCN – Global Level Crossing Network.
New GLCN logo:
The ELCF members were also advised that the UIC Safety Platform members had endorsed the proposal to create a new UIC Safety Platform Working Group on trespassing and suicide prevention. The name chosen for the group is TreSP-Network and a logo has also been selected:
UIC will send a call for candidates for the role of Chair and for membership of this group to UIC members and Safety Platform members. ELCF members were asked to inform colleagues in charge of these particular issues internally and invite them to apply. A kick-off meeting may take place in May 2021. For any further information, please contact Isabelle Fonverne at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, Isabelle Fonverne advised that the ILCAD 2021 worldwide campaign would be maintained in a scale-down format, similar to 2020, due to the pandemic. The ILCAD launch conference, postponed from 2020 to 2021, which was to be hosted by Network Rail at the National Railway Museum of York and held as a face-to-face event, had again been cancelled for the same reasons. Nevertheless, it will be held remotely. The conference is usually held in English only, but interpreting may be available for this year’s event to enable a greater number of valued speakers to take the floor and encourage greater participation.
The 2020 conference, held in English, attracted over 200 participants, and 400 people attended the Spanish-language conference organised with UIC’s Argentinian contacts at UTN-BA National University of Technology – Faculty of Buenos Aires (Universidad Tecnologica Nacional - Facultad Regional Buenos Aires) and IAF, the Argentinian Institute of Railways (Instituto Argentino de Ferrocarriles). The theme of the 2021 ILCAD campaign was discussed during the meeting, and the theme of “distraction” was selected. New posters and perhaps a video will be produced to share with partners around the world.
UIC has also set up a small taskforce on level crossing vocabulary led by Nicolas Raynal, UIC Terminologist, with the support of a number of ELCF members who speak various languages. The group’s objective is to review this part of the UIC glossary.
Ms Fonverne advised that the UIC/IRU level crossing safety flyers were a continued success: 15 languages are now available, including Ukrainian, Czech and Swedish. https://ilcad.org/ilcad/article/safety-tips
Upcoming meetings and events:
- ILCAD 2021 online launch conference and worldwide campaign: 10 June
- GLCN meeting: 4-5 November (exact date and location TBC), either face-to-face or online