This workshop was organised at UIC members’ request to follow up on the results of project RESTRAIL (REduction of Suicides and Trespasses on RAILway property). This EU research project (http://www.restrail.eu/) was coordinated by the UIC Security Division and ended in 2014. A meeting was therefore required to revisit the topic and discuss ways of advancing it at an international level.
The event brought together 56 participants (including six online attendees via a web conference. There were participants from 17 countries: 10 EU member states (France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Italy), three associated countries (Switzerland, Norway and Ukraine), and four countries from other continents (USA, Canada, Japan and Australia). Participants included relevant and diverse stakeholder groups such as: railway infrastructure managers, train operating companies, metro operators, researchers, academics, police, trade unions and government representatives.
Over the course of one afternoon, 12 speakers presented their experiences over the last five years or the measures taken in their respective countries in order to reduce rail suicides and trespass and to minimise the consequences of these incidents. The workshop agenda can be consulted here: https://events.uic.org/workshop-on-rail-suicide-and-trespass-prevention.
The first session focused on exchanging up-to-date information within the extended RESTRAIL expert group and identifying recent updates to countermeasures. The presentations allowed a comprehensive collection of updates on safety measures such as: station announcements, anti-trespass panels, electronic entrance gates, intelligent detection cameras, gatekeeper training, anti-suicide campaigns, blue light at stations, platform screen doors and the use of fencing at suicide hotspots.
The second session explored the possibility of conducting further research on the following subtopics: post-traumatic stress among railway staff (primarily among train drivers); interface between platforms, tracks and trains; front profiles of trains and impact reduction measures; behaviour models; and new expert assessment of countermeasures based on the methodology developed in project RESTRAIL, which should consider more recent evidence on countermeasures.
The concluding session also highlighted the common desire to further reinforce cooperation between Europe, North America, Australasia and Africa. On the one hand, the Global Railway Alliance for Suicide Prevention (GRASP), run by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center, is already a powerful initiative in this area. On the other hand, the efforts of the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) also complement RESTRAIL efforts in Europe. A closer cooperation was proposed between UIC/RESTRAIL, GRASP and ACRI experts to bridge the gap between industries, identify gaps in international cooperation on this topic, regularly share best practices on suicide and trespass prevention, promote joint evaluations of countermeasures and collaborate on joint publications.
Thanks to the speakers and participants, it was a very productive and lively workshop. The information collected during the event will be used to update the RESTRAIL toolbox (http://www.restrail.eu/toolbox/) with new countermeasure evaluation studies and implementation examples.