On 25th March, the second meeting of the “Awareness Day at Level Crossings” task force took place in the premises of Infrabel in Brussels. The meeting, a task force of the European Level Crossing Forum (ELCF) was chaired by Simon Fletcher, Coordinator Europe from the UIC Brussels office.
Gathering national experts from both road and rail sectors from 20 European countries, EIM, CER, as well as representatives from a number of European instances including DG TREN of the European Commission, the objective of the meeting was to finalise the arrangements for the “European Level Crossing Awareness Campaign” to be held in June 2009.
The awareness campaign is focussed around convergence of a series of national events to all be held on the same date and constructed around a common message: Stop Accidents! Europe for safer level crossings.
Each of the participants had the opportunity to detail their national project or the steps they intend to take in June to support the event. They highlighted key points such as the target groups, the methodology, the partnerships, their budget and also what they intend to do to evaluate the success of their campaign. The meeting also welcomed representatives from the CAST team. They had run a three year programme, co-financed by DG TREN, to provide powerful and innovative guidelines to design, implement and evaluate traffic safety campaigns. With particular emphasis on project evaluation, they presented the tools they have designed to help assess a project. In the perspective of this campaign and the overall objective of improving the levels of behaviour and thus fewer accidents at level crossings, this was felt to be a useful tool and the meeting agreed to make use of it.
The fundamental aspect of this campaign is publicising the message, so an important aspect on the agenda was spent in defining and implementing a communication strategy to add a European level to these national initiatives addressing users’ behaviour at and around level crossings. The meeting was delighted that DG TREN, already very involved in the project, is to organise a press conference on the date of the event gathering high level representatives from the Commission but also from instances keen to take part in the project such as the European Rail Agency, the European Transport Safety Council, Members of the European Parliament, the rail operating community, highways and road safety experts and others.
The next meeting of this task force will be held in July 2009 soon after the project, to take stock on the results, assess the effectiveness of such a campaign in terms of media coverage and developing the concept of a global event for 2010 including not only European countries.