Tuesday 12 August 2014
Level Crossings / Safety

2014 Global Level Crossing Safety & Trespass Prevention Symposium (Urbana, IL, 3 – 8 August 2014)

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231 participants (plus 50 students from UIUC) including over 100 presenters from 14 different countries participated in this symposium.

GLXS 2014 is the principal international conference bringing together engineering, safety, security, human factors, practitioners, academics and researchers from the global highway, rail, law enforcement, research and regulatory communities. It provides an opportunity to exchange information, discuss the latest research and share best practices to improve the safety of the at-grade interface between highway and rail systems, and prevent railway trespassing.

The event took place from 3 to 8 August 2014 on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) campus with technical tours continuing to Chicago, IL.

Chris Barkan, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign opened the Symposium and presented the following keynote speakers at the conference:

Andreas Cangellaris – Dean, College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said: “We are very proud that this conference is taking place at UIUC, 42000 students are on this very international campus which is 150 years old.”

Michael Stead – Rail Safety Program Administrator, Illinois Commerce Commission said: “Illinois is a major rail hub in North America. Illinois is the only US state where the seven major railroads operate. There are 12,048 LC in Illinois; it has the second highest number of level crossings in the US and the third largest highway network in the USA. But Illinois has also been number three in the TOP 10 of all US States rating the highest number of collisions at LC and trespassers from 2008 to 2012. The 10 States with the highest number of grade crossing collisions on average during calendar years 2006, 2007 and 2008 were required to develop a state highway rail grade crossing action plan; identify specific solutions for improving safety at crossings, including highway rail grade crossing closures or grade separations; focus on crossings that have experienced multiple incidents or at high risk for such incidents over a five year time period.”

Joseph Szabo – Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration: “Transportation of goods and passengers, highway traffic will be steadily increasing over the next years therefore risks at level crossings will be a greater issue. We face a problem with trespassing and level crossing collisions. We have a partnership with OL inc on Education and Enforcement and developed with them and AAR a national campaign in 2014 with the following motto: “See Tracks, think train!” The core message is: “It’s no contest!” The key target audience is the population of 18-35 aged males. He added that 96% of all related deaths in the US are due to people trying to beat a train at crossings or walking on train tracks. Most of these deaths are preventable.
We develop R&D projects like “Vehicle to vehicle technology” that has been tested, this is not science fiction anymore; this can help prevent collisions. We have a target: increase the number of R&D projects on transportation safety and support university research programmes. Level crossing safety, prevention of trespassing is a US priority but not only as we can see it today with an important international attendance!

Norman Carlson – Director, Metra Commuter Rail Board said: “My experience after having participated in such conferences over the years is that we have not worked enough on soft measures. We need to understand better human behaviour to design better communication strategies. Why the railways should be responsible for human behaviours, why individuals should not be responsible for their own behaviour. He mentioned suicides on Metra Commuter Rail and the communication protocol on this issue with the media. Mid platforms are vulnerable places. We and Operation Lifesaver need to shift our efforts from vehicles to people. We need to spend more time and money on soft issues.”

231 participants (plus 50 students from UIUC on a free basis) including over 100 presenters from 14 different countries participated in the symposium.

There were 9 supporters including:

  • Grade separation supporters: Canadian National Railway (CN) and DuPage Railroad Safety Council,
  • Quad Gate Supporters: BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern (NS), Kansas City Southern Lines (KCS), Hanson, Union Pacific
  • And Crossbuck Supporters: GATX, Railpros, Wavetrain Systems, Quandel consultants, CTC inc. and Operation Lifesaver inc.

20 Symposium Sponsors: UIC, AAR, APTA, Illinois Dept of Transportation, Arema, Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), TRB, OL inc., Railway Supply Institute, RSSB,
OL Canada, Railway Association of Canada, Illinois Association Chiefs of Police, Elmhurst Police Illinois, Metra, Texas A&M Transportation Institute and MTD.

And also 11 exhibitors: see photos

Finally two technical tours were organised (see photos):

  • on 7 August at Odell Level Crossing, BNSF Logistics Park, and the CREATE project in Chicago and
  • on 8 August at Elmhurst Metra Station on crossing collision investigation by Elmhurst Police Dept., the Union Pacific’s Proviso Yard, and finally at Ogilvie Transportation Center.

The main themes addressed in this 13th Edition of the Global Level Crossing and Safety and Trespass Prevention Symposium were Achieving the “Three E’s” of Engineering, Education & Enforcement then Moving Beyond to Evaluation, Encouragement & Emergency Response.
Among other presenters:

  • Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Senior Advisor, Safety and Interoperability had the opportunity to chair a session “on trespass and suicide prevention”.
  • She also gave a presentation with an overview of ILCAD 2014 and global activities on level crossings. She gave some examples of ILCAD partner activities during ILCAD 2014 for example Operation Lifesaver inc.: Operation Lifesaver programs and safety partners in 23 states across the U.S. participated in events to celebrate International Level Crossing Awareness Day on 3 June 2014. OL safety partners for ILCAD activities included Amtrak, BNSF, CN, CP, CSX, KCS, NS, UP, FRA, commuter and short line railroads.

ILCAD media coverage included 39 stories on ILCAD in newspapers with circulation reaching 9,300 people and 15 television news stories referencing ILCAD with approximately 409,000 local viewers. Posts on the OLI Facebook page over the week including 3 June reached more than 92,000 people; mentions of OLI on Twitter rose 1.5 percent in the week including ILCAD.

The participants could also watch the film issued for ILCAD 2014 cofinanced by UIC, UNECE and BAV called “Saving Lives at Level Crossings – A price too high to pay”: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1vlrv3_saving-lives-at-level-crossings-a-price-too-high-to-pay_school

Joyce Rose, President of OL inc. USA also gave a presentation in which she mentioned OLI partnership with AAR and FRA in their new campaign “See Tracks, think train” and their great involvement in ILCAD 2014 all around the country: http://oli.org/

Isabelle Fonverne also informed the audience that the event was once again a great success in 43 countries, received huge media coverage and was most visible on social networks around the world.
She finally announced the date to save for ILCAD 2015: 3 June, the event will be launched and again hosted by an ILCAD partner: TCDD, Istanbul, Turkey. There will be a round table with experts on level crossings. She took the opportunity to issue a call for papers on Engineering, Education and Enforcement and invited specialists in road, rail safety, Education/human behaviour specialists to take part: www.ilcad.org

Anne Silla from VTT Finland gave two presentations:

  • The first one on “two pilot tests conducted by VTT Finland on prevention of railway trespassing in Finland” (part of RESTRAIL project)
  • And the second on behalf of Grigore Havarneanu, UIC Security Division “on preventing railway suicide and trespass: a toolbox for evaluation and implementation measures.” In the context of the EU RESTRAIL Project coordinated by UIC this toolbox is aimed at helping decision makers and railway stakeholders prevent suicides and trespassing accidents.
    She also announced the final RESTRAIL conference to be held on 18 September at UIC HQ in Paris: visit http://www.restrail.eu/RESTRAIL-Final-Conference.html

There were many other very interesting presentations on farm/private/agricultural crossings, pedestrian crossings, risk assessment drivers’ behaviour, regulatory approaches to safety, level crossing improvement solutions, crossing safety initiatives, accident/incident investigations, trespass and suicide prevention projects, the role of the media, data management, Enforcement, Education, vehicle/obstacle detection…

For further information on the presentations delivered at GLXS in Urbana-Champaign, please visit http://railtec.illinois.edu/GLXS/presentations.php

For further information please contact Isabelle Fonverne: fonverne@uic.org

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02. From left to right: Andreas Cangellaris – Dean, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Joseph Szabo-Administrator Federal Railway Administration; Michael Stead-Illinois Commerce Commission; Norman Carlson – Director, Metra Commuter Rail Board
Joseph Szabo – Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration
Operation Lifesaver inc in the USA
Odell Level Crossing, Illinois
CREATE Project
Joyce Rose, President of OL inc. USA
Isabelle Fonverne, UIC
11. Anne Silla, VTT