Safety is one of the railways’ main assets compared to other transport modes. UIC and its members are therefore working together to maintain and further improve safety levels.

Safety is at the core of railway activity and forms part of the UIC Fundamental Values department within UIC. It is also a transverse subject. It plays a crucial role in the work of UIC activities: Passenger, Freight and Rail System, Sustainability and Security.

UIC has an increasing role to play in helping its members to develop harmonised or compatible measures within a region to ensure the high level of safety expected from the railways, combined with constantly improving flexibility and competitiveness.

It will also facilitate the exchange of information and lessons learned between regions between which there is little railway contact.

Safety for environment and neighbours and safety for passengers and customers are, in most parts of the world right now, very strong arguments in favour of developing the rail market share. Since all kinds of transport cross all borders, few national systems are able to manage safety in their country independently from other countries.

Key challenges facing this business

The scale of time appropriate for measuring the effects of changes on safety is not measured in weeks, months or even years. Usually based on quarterly or yearly reports, measures against or in favour of safety may appear as harmless or ineffective. Similarly, when the safety level has visibly become too low, the time needed to reverse the trend might be too long to be acceptable by society.

Nevertheless, even if safety is a fundamental value of the railways all over the world, safety might be seen as jeopardising the railways’ business. However, it simply determines the right for the railway to exist, to survive, to operate its business. If railways are perceived as a threat to the safety of neighbours, environment, customers or staff, society will choose not to use railways.

Reference to how the business is organised

The structure of safety activities at UIC is as follows:

Achievements to be highlighted

  • ILCAD (International Level Crossing Awareness Day) worldwide annual campaign and launch conference
  • Annual safety report main outcome of the UIC Safety database
  • Annual International Human Factors Rail Conference with RSSB
  • Various workshops and training sessions and webinars on level crossing safety, safety management and human factors, safety culture, improving safety when working with contractors on the railways, electronic rule books, SPADs, etc.
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Tuesday 18 June 2024