Wednesday 8 February 2023

The Education and Innovation to Improve Safety at Level Crossings Conference held in Zagreb

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On 2 February 2023, the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences of the University of Zagreb hosted a conference on “Education and innovation to improve safety at level crossings” within the scientific research project "Multicriteria analysis of the causes of risky traffic behaviour at the Borongaj Science and University Campus.” The project is led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sc. Danijela Barić, with the team consisting of members from the Croatian Department for Road Transport and the Department for Traffic and Technical Expertise.

The conference was organised with the help of the Croatian Ministries of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and of the Interior, in cooperation with HŽ Infrastruktura, HŽ Putnički prijevoz, the Air, Maritime and Railway Traffic Accidents Investigation Agency and the Railway Safety Agency, with sponsorships by Altpro and the Končar Group. The event was further backed by the Municipality of Majur, the volunteer fire department of Majur, the Road Administration of Sisak-Moslavina County, and the TV show Traffic Accident Investigations.

The aim of the conference was to bring together stakeholders to tackle level crossing issues and to discuss solutions that would contribute to changing level crossing users’ patterns of behaviour and raise awareness about the consequences of ignoring traffic rules, to contribute to a safer traffic system.

The conference was attended by representatives from the Croatian Parliament and ministries, railway and road infrastructure managers, transport agencies, the media, academics, and other stakeholders, which included UIC.

In the opening session, Marko Šoštarić, Dean of the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, University of Zagreb, first addressed the participants, and then Josip Mataija, Head of the Traffic Police Service, welcomed them on behalf of the Croatian Ministry of the Interior and Jasna Divić, Director of the Directorate for Railway Infrastructure and Transport, on behalf of the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure. The guests were then also greeted by Želimir Delač, Director of the Railway Safety Agency, Darko Barišić, member of the HŽ Infrastruktura Management Board, Mario Zubak, member of the board for HŽ Putnički prijevoz, and finally Pero Ćosić, a member of the Croatian Parliament and Chair of the Committee on Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, was given the floor.

At the end of this session, Isabelle Fonverne, Senior Advisor for Safety and Interoperability, and Coordinator of ILCAD (the International Level Crossing Awareness Day) welcomed the guests on behalf of UIC and the event continued with a series of lectures.

Dr. Barić spoke about the causes and consequences of risky behaviour from level crossing users, especially emphasising the importance of education, which is key to preventing accidents, and also the necessity of applying new teaching methods which use modern technology and are better adapted to younger generations.
She also proposed some possible technical and technological solutions to more effectively prevent the consequences of risky behaviour at level crossings. She discussed how the media could contribute to preventing accidents and concluded the lecture by giving the summary of a test involving a collision between a passenger car and a railway vehicle.

Her colleague from the same faculty, Prof. Željko Šarić, then presented the results of the crash test and highlighted how useful it was in enabling valuable technical data on the accident to be collected, as well as the causes being reconstructed, the consequences being analysed and the application of the investigation results being simulated, which their students also participated in. The case study will be used in teaching for the purposes of educating future generations, and for their laboratory assignments on specific case studies.

The next presentation was given by Tomislav Josip Biber, Chief Investigator at the Air, Maritime and Railway Traffic Accidents Investigation Agency, on “Safety at level crossings – a review and assessment with an investigative simulation conducted after the crash test at the Graboštani level crossing and examples of previous investigations”.

A unique and emotive presentation from a train driver’s perspective was given by Stjepan Fotović from HŽ Putnički prijevoz (HZ Passenger), who shared the experiences of train drivers involved in level crossing collisions and the problems and stress suffered by them, how they cope, and under which conditions they have to return to job after an accident.

Barišić then took to the floor again to present “The Train is Always Faster” regarding HŽ Infrastruktura’s preventive and educational activities, which have been ongoing for more than 20 years. After reviewing new statistics, preventative and educational promotional video materials were shown, with which HŽ Infrastruktura seeks to further educate younger road users. He then finished by commenting on infrastructure investments and future plans for upgrading passive level crossings to active ones.

The next speaker, Fonverne from UIC, gave a presentation on global safety activities, and more precisely on UIC’s preventative and educational activities together with institutions and companies from all around the world through ILCAD. She additionally emphasised how the outstanding teamwork with the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences and HŽ Infrastruktura resulted in the international conference to launch ILCAD being organised in Zagreb in 2018, which was attended by around 200 participants from 29 countries from all corners of the world.

To find out more about this event please click the following links:
• The ILCAD 2018 summary
• The ILCAD 2018 intro video
The Faculty and HŽ Infrastruktura are also active participants in two UIC working groups dedicated to level crossing safety (GLCN), and rail trespass and suicide prevention (TreSP-Network).

Milan Vuković, Head of Sector at the Directorate for Railway Infrastructure and Transport, presented the 2023-2027 programme for eliminating rail-road and pedestrian crossings over railway tracks, following which Delač again spoke and presented his agency’s role in approving and supervising level crossings in Croatia.

Darko Grac from the Croatian Ministry of the Interior reported on current accident statistics, pointing out the differences in road and railway and then presented preventative educational and police enforcement activities.

The role of the media was also given special focus, considering how there were numerous possibilities for them to contribute to raising road users’ awareness about the consequences of risky behaviour and how to prevent accidents. For example, Ognjen Golubić presented the theme and goals of the TV show “Traffic Accident Investigations”, which has now been broadcasted for 5 years and has a specific way of contributing to the prevention of accidents.

After the conference the car used in the crash test was shown to the participants, and will be permanently exhibited in front of the building, in order to remind all visitors to the Borongaj Campus of the consequences of risky driving and ignoring road traffic rules.

Link to the crash test video:

For more information, please visit

For further information, please contact Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Senior Advisor, Safety and Interoperability at

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