Safety at Level Crossings


  • To raise awareness about the danger at level crossings
  • To promote safe behaviour by all users at and around level crossings
  • To find measures to increase safety and lower the number of accidents

ELCF (European Level Crossing Forum)

Each year people die in accidents involving road vehicles colliding with trains at level crossings. 98% of these fatalities are attributed to faults by the road vehicle driver.

Despite this, society still labels most fatal accidents at level crossings as a rail problem.

The rail community regards this as a particular problem largely because it is not possible to anticipate the actions of individual road vehicle drivers and pedestrians at level crossings despite a range of risk control measures. The actions and misuse by members of the public throughout Europe disproportionately account for over 25% of ALL accidents affecting safe rail operation.

Clearly this is a significant risk area for the rail sector.

However of all road deaths in the EU (in excess of 25,100 in 2018), only 1% occur at level crossings.
So a significant risk to the safe operation of the rail network is in fact only a small element of the overall road safety issue.

The European Level Crossing Forum (ELCF) is a working group that brings together key stakeholders in order to exchange information and provide experiences and lessons for improving the management of the “at-grade road/rail interface” (level crossings).

The first meeting was held in 2005, and was started as an initiative arising from the 8th Level Crossing Safety and Trespass Symposium held in Sheffield, UK in 2004. Meetings have been held approximately twice per year since then allowing ELCF to grow from the 11 countries at the start to over 20.

  • Chairman: Allan Spence, Network Rail
  • Secretary: Isabelle Fonverne, UIC

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ILCAD (International Level Crossing Awareness Day) campaign

“Act safely at level crossings!”

ILCAD 2018 - Poster "Don't beat the train!"

The International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) is an awareness campaign on level crossing safety. The campaign has been spearheaded by the International Union of Railways (UIC) with the support of the railway community around the world. A growing number of road sector organisations, international institutions (UNECE, IRU…) has also been involved in raising awareness of the risks at level crossings to change road users’ and pedestrians’ behaviour to “Act safely at level crossings”. Each year, a partner country hosts the event. Each participant gives his good practices and shares his projects to increase safety and lower the number of accidents.

ELCAD (European Level Crossing Awareness Day) campaign 2009

ELCAD, the first ever awareness campaign on level crossing safety was organised on a European level on 25 June 2009

ILCAD is a joint commitment continuing from the success of the first European Level Crossing Awareness Day (ELCAD) held on 25th June 2009. ELCAD linked together a series of national/local events on the same date in 28 countries raising public awareness on the dangers of misbehaviour at level crossings.

Level crossing accidents account for only 1% of road deaths but 28% of all rail fatalities based on European statistics. Road and rail organisations from participating countries acknowledged their shared responsibility to deal with this issue by organising safety events to develop public awareness and safe behaviour at and around level crossings.

Additionally, many of them have signed the European Road Safety Charter which is an initiative of the European Union. The Charter has the objective of developing concrete actions, assessing results and further heightening awareness about the need to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities through the exchange of best practices in traffic safety in Europe, while adding a European dimension to individual or collective initiatives.

The members particularly welcomed the active participation of Argentina and Israel amongst non-European partners and the support of Canada, South Africa and the United States and look forward further develop joint actions for the next event giving it a truly international dimension.

Since then, UIC has been coordinating this worldwide event to raise public awareness about the dangers at level crossings.


Isabelle Fonverne, ILCAD Coordinator

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