On 12 and 13 January Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Projects Officer for Interoperability and Safety at UIC, Coordinator of ILCAD (International Level Crossing Awareness Day) www.ilcad.org and Alan Davies, RSSB www.rssb.co.uk, Chairman of ELCF (European Level Crossing Forum), were invited by Turkish Railways (TCDD) to present ELCF, ILCAD and more generally level crossing safety issues at international level.
The meeting, held in English and Turkish, was opened by Mr Hasan Gedïklï, TCDD Regional Director in Istanbul, and chaired by Mr Adnan Ekïncï, Chairman of the Turkish Commission on level crossing safety and Advisor to the Turkish Ministry of Transport.
About 25 persons from TCDD (international affairs, traction, traffic, training, track, fixed installations) from the Ankara and Istanbul offices, the police division, and the road traffic sector took part in this meeting.
TCDD delivered an initial general presentation on their railway network amounting to a total of 11940 km (conventional lines: 11052 km + high speed lines: 888 km: http://www.tcdd.gov.tr/tcdding/hizlitrenprojesi_ing.html; in 2010 they transported 84 million passengers). Finally they presented the results of the studies that TCDD and the Turkish Commission had carried out on level crossings in Turkey showing a high number of accidents at level crossings (protected or not). In 2010 the total number of level crossings amounted to 3415 http://www.tcdd.gov.tr/tcdding/images/20062010yillik.pdf. The installation, upgrading, protection and maintenance costs are the responsibility of the railways. To improve safety at level crossings, TCDD tries to communicate more with different institutions such as the Ministry of Education, road infrastructure managers and the police, but they need to know more about foreign experiences.
Mr Mehmet Kamil Ekmekci, Chief Superintendent at the Turkish National Police HQ (Traffic Education and Research Dept.) in Ankara gave a presentation on road safety issues including level crossings, showing a high number of accidents, fatalities and injuries in Turkey. They participate in the UNECE Road Safety Decade of Action 2011-2020 carrying out awareness campaigns in Turkey to reduce the number of accidents in the country. Between 2001 and 2010 869,562 car accidents occurred in Turkey out of which only 3199 accidents took place at level crossings causing 262 fatalities, with 5242 people left injured or disabled. Most accidents occur during the day, at protected level crossings, and with pedestrians. He intends to organise a symposium on road safety issues (including level crossings) in spring 2013 in which we would be most welcome to participate.
Isabelle Fonverne and Alan Davies thanked TCDD and Mr Ekinci for their warm welcome to Istanbul. UIC and ELCF are most happy to welcome TCDD and the Turkish Commission on Level Crossings to join the next ILCAD campaign on 7 June 2012 www.ilcad.org (kick-off meeting at RSSB in London on 3 February) and to the ELCF group to further exchange on the matter (next ELCF plenary meeting to take place on May 4 and 5 in Oslo (Norway).