Tuesday 14 June 2016
Safety / Level Crossings

International Conference on “How to improve safety at and around level crossings” ILCAD 2016, 10 June in Riga and 11 June in Tallinn

120 participants from 14 different countries, 18 speakers from 8 different countries including Russia

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On 10 and 11 June, the UIC, the international rail community and many partners from the road sector held the 8th edition of International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD: www.ilcad.org). To launch this worldwide campaign an international conference on level crossing safety was hosted by “Latvian Railways” (LDz: http://www.ldz.lv/) on 10 June in Riga (Latvia).

The event in Riga was again a great success with 120 participants from 14 countries, 18 speakers from 8 countries including Russia. Speakers gave an overview on Engineering and technological solutions, Education and Enforcement measures that can be taken to improve safety at level crossings. Various sectors were represented with the Latvian Road Traffic Safety Directorate, railway companies, police forces (British Transport Police), a Latvian Seniors’ association representative, policy makers with the Latvian Minister of Transport, railway safety education with Operation Lifesaver Estonia, academics, and two manufacturers.

Three keynote speakers welcomed the participants and opened the conference:

  • Mr. Uldis Augulis, Minister of Transport of Latvia
  • Mr. Edvins Berzins, CEO of Latvian Railways, LDz
  • Mr. Peter Gerhardt, Director of the UIC Safety Unit

The first panel of speakers was dedicated to local speakers and education.

1. The TBWA Latvia Agency represented by Mrs. Anna Rancāne, Strategist; and Mr. Edijs Vucens, Head of Media Arts presented the Latvian Railway Safety Campaign “Don’t overestimate your abilities near railways”

The agency conducted research in order to deliver the communication materials of the new LDz/ILCAD campaign dedicated to seniors. The campaign’s creative concept aims to challenge the physical abilities of elderly people who tend to overestimate their own physical capacity near railways. According to the research and strategy of the agency’s proposal, seniors are opinionated and they claim to be experienced enough when asked about safety near level crossings. The creative solution in the given campaign aims to challenge physical abilities among seniors using characteristics of each given media, i.e. eyesight in print media, hearing with regard to radio and overall alertness with regard to TV.

The agency interviewed persons in railway stations and many of them responded that they often don’t take authorised access to railways. They think that they are fit enough to cross the tracks quickly enough and anywhere. Aging persons have the same habits, but don’t see their abilities decreasing. For the new ILCAD 2016 video and posters visit: www.ilcad.org

2. Mr. Ivars Austers, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Latvia presented: “Railway crossing safety: Self-reported risk perception and behaviours in the population of Latvia”

He conducted research on the risk perception and behaviours in the Latvian population. An important human factor in railway safety involves risk judgments by pedestrians crossing railways. Risk itself is a concept, which we commonly employ in our everyday language as well as forming judgments and decision-making. We sometimes say that a certain kind of planned behaviour is too risky to be undertaken, or we may take alternative routes of action. On the other hand, if the predicted risk level is low, we may decide upon acting. A representative survey of the population in Latvia was carried out. Of the 80% of people interviewed over 1008 people use a level crossing at least once a month. 23% of them do it when lights are flashing and barriers are down.
He covered the issues of risk perception and risk judgments in relation to crossing railway tracks at different locations. The speech will also give an insight into self-reported behaviours involving high amounts of risk when crossing railway tracks.

3. Mrs. Valda Kjaspere from the Latvian Road Traffic Safety Directorate presented the “Cooperation between different organizations in order to decrease number of accidents”

Today safety and risk issues are rather complex and solutions should be sought in different domains. Latvia can be proud of successful cooperation between ministries involved (of Transport, Education and Science, Health and others), including their respective subordinate bodies, NGOs, local self-governments and educational establishments ensuring joint efforts for providing quality of education for children in terms of connecting knowledge with practice. The basis for respective behaviour models is as follows: observation, conclusion, decision, action.

Different institutions with common care for the safety of children in road traffic, near railways, at home, on the internet and elsewhere can together help young individuals to notice and see how knowledge and practice interact - furthermore, and more importantly, putting emphasis on the ability to act in order to ensure safety for themselves and for others. For many years, the result of good cooperation is educational activities organised in schools all over Latvia under the title “One day for safety”, where children meet representatives of different institutions in interactive workshops.

4. Mrs. Getter Toome, Operation Lifesaver Estonia (OLE) presented their "Training programme for motor vehicle drivers”

She gave a brief overview about the cooperation project with one of our partners the “Estonian Road Administration”. The project was initiated because the managers and trainers of driving schools have asked the Road Administration for training materials about safe crossing of railways as the lack of knowledge means that the law is not understood in the same way by all. OLE decided a year ago to join forces to combine railway safety materials that could be used by driving schools in their daily work. OLE prepared a 50-slide presentation for driving school instructors and 100 pages of manual on how to explain the photos or animations on the slides and discuss the important topics. In future information on the safe crossing of railways will be delivered to new drivers in a professional way.

5. Mrs. Katarzyna Kucharek PKP (Polish Railways) presented their “Activities at rail-road level crossings carried out in Poland”

Poland wishes to tackle the safety issue at railway level crossings and on railway property. Their objectives are to reduce the number of accidents at level crossings and in railway areas by promoting the correct patterns of behaviour and educate the public to accept them as well as raising awareness of threats posed by being careless whilst going through crossings or railway areas.

Apart from education they also focus on engineering and enforcement. One of the interesting solutions in the safety field in Poland is a gatekeepers’ support system.
PKP has been organising awareness campaigns for 11 years, in 2015 they were awarded by the European Commission with a prize of excellence for their actions towards road safety at level crossings. They have also participated in ILCAD from the beginning.

6. Mr. Dale Jones, from the manufacturing company “OPTEX” “Lidar” to detect larger objects and vehicles”

In partnership with Tewplus they have developed a LIDAR, laser scanning system to detect people and young children trapped within level crossing barriers to fulfil a requirement for Network Rail in the UK and following successful trials systems have now been supplied for 100 level crossings with a further 100 systems to be delivered by the end of 2017. The system could be seen on videos on a stand.

7. Inspector Becky Warren, British Transport Police: Mr. Allan Spence and Mr. Sandy Bell Ashe from UK Network Rail, UK explained how they work together on the three E’s (Engineering, Education and Enforcement) for a safer railway.

Over the last six years they have closed 1000 LC in partnership with local authorities. They are proud to declare no fatalities at LCs in the UK in 2015.
NR has been working with manufacturers to find innovative solutions such as the detection of a train by the track, power by solar energy, prevention near LC, fixed cameras at LC, (20 in England and Wales). Safety guidance according to LC users were published on their website (dog walkers, farmers, children and teenagers going to school, professional drivers, …) with specific partnerships with users’ associations, charity associations, federations, schools.

8. Mrs. Anna Kodysova, represented Mr. Pavel Surý, Director General of SZDC and explained the LC safety situation in the Czech Republic”

The unique identification system for each level crossing in the Czech Republic consists of one letter and five digits. This system was introduced in 2009 for ensuring higher safety in order to be better perceived and understood by the Czech rescue service. Using this system allowed many railway accidents to be prevented for several years and they can recommend it to other railway infrastructure managers. They also installed cameras at LC and work with the transport police. In 2013-2014 they started to upgrade level crossings. They also informed the audience that they have been participating in ILCAD from the very beginning.

9. Mr. Martynas Gedaminskas from Lithuanian railways (LG) explained the Innovative Technologies at Lithuanian Railways level crossings

In 2014 Lithuanian Railways upgraded two major level crossings in the region of Vilnius. Both crossings are fitted with new early warning safety systems and technology provided by Bombardier with up to date microprocessors automatic crossing signalling.
The crossings are controlled through video monitoring systems which consist of video and thermal cameras, and other advanced devices. Wireless video of level crossing is transmitted to approaching train. They shared their experience and video footage of operating the new technology from September 2014. They also gave information on their ILCAD awareness campaign 2016.

10. Mr. Dmitry Rulev Deputy, RZD, Head of the Central Infrastructure Directorate for Traffic Safety (JSC “Russian Railways” affiliate): “Technical facilities used to ensure traffic safety at railway level crossings in the Russian Federation”

The main specific feature of any railway level crossing lies in its accessibility for traffic participants.

Every year, the JSC “Russian Railways” work is aimed at bringing down the number of level crossings. From 2010 to 2015, 524 railway crossings were closed.
Today 10,789 level crossings are operational in the railway system, with 76% of them (8,234) equipped with the automatic railway crossing signalling.

A railway level crossing is an indispensable part of the road transport infrastructure, and at JSC “Russian Railways” they use the accumulated experience on road traffic to record and report violations at railway crossings. The inevitability of punishment for a deliberate violation, which can be delivered through a video recording of the offence, remains the most efficient method of preventing violations of the road traffic rules. They wish to discuss prospective cooperation and share experience in safety operations, including at level railway crossings.

11. Mr. Jānis Eiduks, Director of the Railway Department, Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Latvia presented the project “Rail Baltica: Approach to safety for new railway lines”

No new railway lines have been built in Latvia since the mid-1930s, and in this respect Rail Baltica project is quite challenging. It requires an approach to safety which has certain differences from what we have on existing broad gauge network.
Passenger trains on this new line will run at 240 km/h. There won’t be any level crossings but railway or road bridges.

12. Mrs. Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Safety Advisor, informed the audience of a level crossing safety campaign for seniors organised by Japanese railways.
UIC, as in previous years, is proud to bring together about 40 countries around ILCAD, either by relaying it on their websites or on social media, or by organising a range of activities around 10-11 June. The partners in ILCAD have been focusing in particular on safety at level crossings, but some also made the most of the opportunity to raise public awareness of other dangers such as crossing railway lines where it is strictly forbidden to do so, or safety on station platforms.

She reported on and distributed the level crossing safety guidances for professional drivers issued by UIC/IRU/OLE and published in 8 languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic) and is proud to announced that they will soon be available in additional languages (Greek, Polish, Croatian…)

Visit: http://www.ilcad.org/LC-Safety-Tips.html

She finally wrapped up the conference: all presentations will be downloaded at http://www.ilcad.org/ILCAD-2016.html. She thanked LDz hosts, participants and speakers for making this event a great success again and invited them to the next edition of ILCAD to take place on 2 June 2017 in Montreal, Canada hosted by VIARAIL in cooperation with Operation Lifesaver Canada.

Participants were invited to visit the Latvian Railway Museum. They also had the opportunity to be tested (eyes, ears, speed …).

A technical visit was organised on 11 June by Operation Lifesaver Estonia in Tallinn (Estonia, OLE: http://ole.ee ) to see EVR rescue equipments and EVR rail operating control centre http://www.evr.ee/en; http://ole.ee/en/ (see photos):

The ILCAD 2016 video is available in Latvian, English, French and Spanish (also in Greek and Italian) http://www.ilcad.org/Videos.html or http://www.uic.org/videos

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


9 Votes

Average rating: 4.67 / 5

Uldis Augulis, Latvian Minister of Transport
Mr Edvins Berzins, Chairman of the Board and President of Latvian Railways
Mr Peter Gerhardt, Head of the UIC Safety Unit
Mrs Isabelle Fonverne, Senior Advisor Safety and Interoperability
Group photo of all the speakers