Friday 17 June 2022

On 9 June 2022, four keynote speakers welcomed the 160 delegates and officially opened the international conference to launch the 14th edition of ILCAD at the Cable Center, Denver, CO (USA).

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François Davenne, Director General of the International Union of Railways (UIC), opened proceedings, saying:
International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) is a worldwide initiative to improve awareness of level crossing safety. Since 2009, the campaign has been spearheaded by UIC, the worldwide railway organisation, with the support of the railway community around the world.
Around 50 countries usually take part in the ILCAD annual campaign. Consequently, you are not alone in a congress room today to exchange on level crossing safety. UIC estimates that there are half a million level (grade) crossings in the world, with over 100,000 in the EU and over 200,000 in the USA, representing 20% and 40% of the total number of level crossings in the world, respectively.

Jennifer Mitchell, Deputy Administrator at Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), continued:
On behalf of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FRA Administrator Amit Bose, thank you for being here. We’re proud to co-host this year’s ILCAD with UIC, the Association of American Railroads and Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
It’s astounding to consider that there are about half a million level crossings worldwide. Here in the US, train tracks and roadways intersect at over 200,000 locations. Nearly 140,000 of those level crossings are at public roads.


Jeff Moller, Assistant to the President at the Association of American Railroads (AAR), added:
Highway-rail grade crossing safety and trespass prevention are both intractable problems, the solution to which lies not with a single entity, but with all of us – regulators, railroads, communities, drivers and pedestrians. Solving this problem will be at or near the top of the long list of great accomplishments of this industry. ILCAD and other events like this provide an opportunity to take another step closer to the solution.

Jo E. Strang, Senior Vice President of American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) & Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), said:
I have the distinct pleasure of supporting safety in the freight railroad industry from two different vantage points – that of the small business railroads, more commonly referred to as “short lines”, and from the public point of view as Chairman of the Board of Operation Lifesaver. Safety is personal because short lines are small business owners, and we live and work in the communities we serve.

It is a fact that the largest areas of risk in train-related deaths and injuries come from trespassing and suicide. Many of these incidents happen at grade crossings. These incidents are tragic for all involved, from the train crew to the families impacted and the community. As we celebrate our 50th year, OLI is focused on Education to keep the public safe around the tracks and railway crossings all across the country. Engineering technologies play a critical role in helping to minimise and reduce those collision risks. Finally, Enforcement. It’s critical that when highway-rail intersection collisions do occur, law enforcement officers, often the first responders, are familiar with both railroad operations and highway-rail grade crossing conditions. OLI offers a special course to teach officers how to ensure their personal safety, both while responding to rail collision incidents and throughout the investigation.

In conclusion, our industry is safe and getting safer. Collectively, we will not rest until every employee comes home safely every day.

The first session of the conference was moderated by Dr Patrick Sherry, Professor, University of Denver, USA and featured the two following speakers:

  • Mike Long, Director of Regional Operations of FRA, USA: “Multi-Agency Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Action Team Bringing the Pieces of the Puzzle Together
  • Kerry-Lynn Mohr, Rail Safety Specialist at the City of Ottawa, Canada, and Nicole Jackson, Senior Project Manager at Alfred Benesch & Company: “Stopped with no place to go

The second session was moderated by Allan Spence, Director of Regulator Liaison, Network Rail and Chair of the UIC Global Level Crossing Network (GLCN), and featured:

  • Asim Zaman, Project Engineer, Rutgers University, USA: “Artificial Intelligence Aided Quiet Zone Grade Crossing Trespassing Detection and Data Analytics
  • Elizabeth Veinott, Associate Professor, Michigan Technological University, USA: “Connected Vehicles and In-vehicle alerts for improving Crossing Safety: Preliminary Evaluations of Human Perceptions on New Technologies
  • Dr Surya Sarat Chandra Congress, Senior Research Engineer, Texas A&M University, USA: “Evaluation of At-grade Railroad Crossing Safety using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles-based Close-Range Photogrammetry (UAV-CRP) Technology

The third session had Debra Chappell, Transportation Specialist, Highway-Rail Crossing and Trespasser Programs Division at US DOT as a moderator and featured:

  • Isabelle Fonverne, on behalf of Vincent Godeau, Advisor, INFRABEL, Belgium: “The Warning Box
  • Robert Wainwright, Level Crossing Manager, Network Rail, UK: “Managing the safety of people to whom we owe a greater duty of care at level crossings
  • Marina Santapaola, Coordinator of external and investigation training at the Argentinian Transport Safety Board (Junta de Seguridad en el Transporte – JST): “Overview of level crossing safety in Argentina

The fourth session was moderated by Rachel Maleh, Executive Director of Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

  • Sanja Paic, President, Safety Guru Institute for the promotion of Traffic Culture and Safety and Mr Drazen, Doctor of Science, Croatia: “How vulnerable groups are formed
  • Dr Danijela Baric, Associate Professor, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, Croatia: “Virtual Reality as a technology that helps to educate and change attitudes of learning drivers toward safety at level crossings
  • Moriah Whiteman, Manager of Education, Training and Volunteer Support, Operation Lifesaver, Inc., USA: “Emerging Learners: Preparing the next Generation for Safety

Finally, in the fifth and last session, there were two interesting and moving presentations from:

  • Andy Elkins, Director of the BOE/AAR (Bureau or Explosives / Association of American Railroads), USA who described his first level crossing accident-related experience as a young police officer: “The night that changed 1000 lives
  • Charlie Mathewson, RISC Consultant for Operation Lifesaver, Inc., USA: “Railroad Investigation and Safety Course (RISC) – Keeping Law Enforcement Safe in a Rail Environment

Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Safety Senior Advisor and ILCAD Coordinator, informed the delegates of the current level crossing safety activities being carried out today in various countries around the globe and revealed the next ILCAD launch conference location: Warsaw, Poland, at the kind invitation of the PKP Group Foundation.

Allan Spence, Director of Regulator Liaison, Network Rail and Chair of the UIC Global Level Crossing Network (GLCN), finally wrapped up the very successful 2022 events.

Lastly, on 10 June all delegates were invited to travel on the BNSF Executive Business train to Pueblo Union Depot and given the great opportunity to enjoy a technical visit to the US Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo (https://ttc-ensco.com), including a tour and presentations from the FRA, MxV (formerly TTCI) and SERTC (https://sertc.org/). To finish, there was an optional visit to the LBFoster Campus for a tour and presentations on level crossing safety technologies and innovations (https://lbfoster.com/en).

See you all next year on 7 June (2nd edition of the Trespass and Suicide Prevention), 8 June (15th edition of ILCAD) and 9 June 2023 (technical and social events).

Watch the ILCAD 2022 video, which collates CCTV footage of inappropriate behaviour at level crossings: English

The video is also available in French, Spanish, Hungarian and Polish

Discover additional level crossing safety and trespass prevention videos here:
ILCAD 2022 YouTube playlist
TRESPASS PREVENTION 2022 YouTube playlist

Press releases:
UIC: https://uic.org/com/IMG/pdf/final_ilcad_press_release_2022_may_20_en.pdf
AAR: https://mailchi.mp/aar.org/freight-rail-update-the-signal-2-174049?e=abb0c9673d
OLI: https://oli.org/about-us/news/operation-lifesaver-celebrates-50-years-rail-safety-education-welcomes-50th
LBFOSTER: https://lbfoster.com/en/news/details/2022-05-26-lb-foster-to-host-delegates-from-20-countries-at-ilcad-22

ILCAD website: www.ilcad.org

#ilcad #UICRail #saferlc #restrail #olinational #AAR_freightrail #USDOT_FRA #education #awareness #TrespassSuicidePrevention

For further information, please contact Isabelle Fonverne, Senior Safety Advisor at: fonverne@uic.org

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