On the International Level Crossing Awareness Day, we are glad to report that the level crossing programme launched by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 2018 has grown during the project. When the programme ends next year, level crossing safety have been improved in three hundred places around Finland instead of the 65 places that were originally planned.
According to the current plan, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will remove 177 level crossings and improve 129 level crossings in relation to the programme.
“Such a great result was achieved with our own and regional planning. As an example, there was a section of road with four level crossings. After constructing detours, we have been able to remove three of them and improve the safety of the remaining level crossing,” explained Jarmo Koistinen, a traffic safety specialist from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
Although the current works are significantly improving the situation, there are still 2,550 level crossings in Finland after the programme ends.
“There is still plenty of work to be done for many years, and at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, we are committed to improving traffic safety in this area,” Koistinen added.
Largest projects on the Lahti-Heinola and Tampere-Pori lines
When it comes to safety equipment, Lahti-Heinola is the largest level crossing project in progress. After the project, there will be 29 new or renewed level crossing safety devices in the area.
"Unfortunately, we have not been able to reduce the number of level crossings on this section of the line since in places the roads and the track are close to each other and very close to populated areas, so it has not been possible to construct detours. However, by adding latest technology to level crossings, safety can be considerably improved,” said Koistinen.
Another major project is starting on the line section Tampere-Pori. This €40 million project will improve the possibilities for people living and moving nearby of crossing the railway more safely than before as the current level crossings will be replaced primarily with road or bridge arrangements or equipped with safety equipment, and their safety will also be otherwise improved.
The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency actively reports on all of its ongoing level crossing projects: Projects and more information can be found on this map.
Even safer level crossings depend on people’s behaviour
In the upcoming years, all investment and maintenance projects will be reflected in the decline of the number of accidents.
“As the number of level crossings has been reduced, the number of accidents has also decreased,” Koistinen said.
“None of our work, however, removes the obligation of the level crossing user to be vigilant when crossing the railroad on car or by other means,” Koistinen says.
What to do when you come to a level crossing:
- Slow down and concentrate. Reduce your speed well in advance, whether you are moving by car, bicycle or foot. Minimize factors that interfere with your concentration.
- Look and listen. Check both directions before crossing the rail road. Remember that a level crossing is not a zebra-crossing and that the train always has the right of way.
- Cross the railroad when it’s safe. It is always your own responsibility to safely cross the railroad.
Level crossing is the most important stop of the day! Have a safe level crossing awareness day - today and all other days!