The AZP International Conference on level crossing safety held on 27 and 28 September 2011 in Maribor, Slovenia was attended by more than 130 participants mostly from Slovenia but also from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland.
Speakers from the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency (AVP), National Safety Authorities from Croatia, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Norway and Switzerland, Slovenian Local Authorities, Railway Regulatory Authorities from Slovenia and Slovakia, Accident Investigation Boards from Slovenia and Finland, the Slovenian Roads Agency (DRSC), Faculties of Civil Engineering from Maribor and Ljubljana, the Faculty of Logistic Celje, the Slovenian Ministry of Transport, Railway Infrastructure Managers from Slovenian Railways and Austrian Railways (ÖBB), transport companies from Slovenia, Austria and Lithuania, the President of the Transport Committee of the Slovenian National Assembly, manufacturers (Iskra Sistemi, SŽ-ŽGP Ljubljana, — Lineal), UIC with ILCAD, ELCF, ERA and DG MOVE.
Mr Boris Zivec, Director of the Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Railway Transport (AZP) in Maribor, Slovenia, opened the morning session on 27 September.
Mr Janko Veber, Member of the Slovenian Parliament, President of the Slovenian Transport Committee of the Slovenian National Assembly, reported on the priorities in providing safety in Slovenia.
Mr Zoltan Kazatsay, Deputy Director General, DG MOVE, gave a presentation on “securing the safety of participants in transport, particularly at the interface of different transport systems, namely level crossings from a European perspective”.
Mr Marcel Verslype, Executive Director of the European Railway Agency (ERA) and Mr Ljubo Zajc, Director of the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency (AVP) developed the topic on level crossing safety in EU member states. Marcel Verslype presented the ERA “Railway Safety Performance Report 2011” and the figures and trends in railway and level crossing accidents in the EU as well as the analysis of level crossing accident investigation reports.
According to ERA, there are two main types of accident: accidents related to persons caused by rolling stock in motion and level crossing accidents.
Some significant figures in 2009: 400 level crossing user fatalities, 29% of all railway accident fatalities, and 1.2% of road user fatalities. On average there are 1021 significant level crossing accidents and 428 road user fatalites in the EU per year.
Mr Kazatsay, Mr Verslype and Mr Zivec opened the discussion on “to what extent is coordination and support of higher level of safety at level crossings targeted or expected from a European perspective: SM and CSC”.
Mrs Kirsi Pajunen, ERA Safety Unit, opened and chaired the afternoon session on 27 September. She introduced the role of National Safety Authorities (NSAs) in level crossing safety. Seven representatives of National Safety Authorities (NSA) or National Investigation Bodies (NIB) gave presentations on national experiences respectively in Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland and Slovenia.
According to ERA’s reported data, the year 2009 was the safest year on the EU’s railways for both passengers and rail staff since 2006. Railways remain one of the safest modes of transport in the European Union (EU). Yet, some 1400 people still die on EU railways each year; most of the fatalities are unauthorised persons and level crossing users. There are about 124,000 level crossings in the EU, so on average there are four level crossings per 10 km section of track. Only 41% are equipped with either manual or automatic protection systems. The national investigation bodies (NIB) notified the Agency of 197 opened investigations of accidents and incidents that occurred during 2010. The Agency also received 210 investigation reports during 2009 covering accidents dating from 2006 and onwards.
The second day (28 September) was dedicated to presentations on the improvement of safety at level crossings through engineering solutions and educational measures.
Isabelle Fonverne (UIC + ELCF Secretary) and Alan Davies (European Level Crossing Safety Chairman) delivered a presentation respectively on ELCF work and ILCAD 2011 (International Level Crossing Awareness Day) that took place on 9 June in more than 40 countries worldwide – more information at
www.ilcad.org; facebook.com/ilcad; http://twitter.com/#!/ilcad
The next edition will take place again in June 2012.
Both chaired the sessions on engineering and education and opened the discussion at the end of the conference.
For information an ELCF plenary meeting and an ILCAD 2011 debriefing meeting will take place on 20-21 October 2011 in Lisbon. You will find further information on this issue in a further e-news edition.
The conclusions of this conference: improve safety at level crossings, more efforts have to be concentrated jointly on the improvement of engineering to make level crossings more visible, ensure more effective enforcement of the laws, take more awareness measures to educate the public on the dangers at and around level crossings, take the whole system more into account and stop blaming the user.
More information will be uploaded shortly on the AZP website: http://www.azp.si/www/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=125%3Aletno-poroilo-o-varnosti&catid=45%3Anovice&Itemid=97&lang=en