Information published on 12 November 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 373.

Network Rail, an ILCAD partner, recently published news on

  • Introduction of new technology apps (iPads, iPhones) used by Level Crossing Managers to increase efficiency
  • Winter Awareness Campaign 2013/2014: to raise awareness among road users and pedestrians on approaching level crossings in bad weather conditions
  • Trials on distraction floor transfers aimed at generating awareness among pedestrians during the approach to level crossings

“The last two years at Network Rail have been instrumental in improving many areas of level crossing management, resulting in reducing risk by over 26 percent, to date.
One of the most exciting challenges ahead, is to improve our understanding of human behaviour in relation to level crossing use. This is a truly global issue and something of interest to every nation with crossings. I would like to think that with so many colleagues around the world hoping to learn more, the first international conference dedicated to human factors at level crossings will be organised somewhere very soon.
We now know much more about our level crossings and how we can continue to improve safety, whilst building our knowledge of human factors and the latest technologies, to help create an even safer railway.”

said Martin Gallagher, Head of Level Crossings at Network Rail.

New apps increase efficiency and reduce effort

Our new asset inspection and risk assessment apps have now gone ’live’, allowing Level Crossing Managers (LCMs) to record data on site using iPads or iPhones, instead of the familiar paper-based forms or the handheld symbol devices.
LCM Wales Route Billy Davies said: “I have found the new ’My Work’ app very user friendly. It is very easy to use at site in all weather conditions. It is hugely beneficial in both time efficiencies and personally to me knowing my work is fully completed and signed off before I leave site. I would recommend all my LCM colleagues get out there and start using it.”

The Work Management and Risk Assessment apps enable LCMs to close their own work orders and create arising work orders for authorisation. Automating the process cuts down on duplication of effort between LCMs and their maintenance colleagues, making everyone more efficient. “It’s a great app to work with. I thought it was going to make things long winded but it’s the opposite,” says Level Crossing Manager Ian Haywood.
“The new technology will increase efficiency by removing the duplication of effort caused by re-entering data captured on paper-based forms. This will increase the accuracy of LCM assessments by ensuring the correct questions are answered for the type of level crossing being inspected. It will also provide consistent and reliable information through a single point of entry system,” said Business Change Manager Kathy Fucci.

Earlier this year, the level crossing team introduced a customer relationship management system (CRM), to enable LCMs to manage their stakeholders in a more structured way. The system allows an LCM to create letters and record all interactions with our Authorised Users and other stakeholders.
The CRM application will be rolled out to other areas across the Network Rail infrastructure in the near future, enabling the organisation to see all interactions with our stakeholders in one place.

With both of these apps aiding smarter working, our level crossing community is looking forward to many ’appy days ahead.
NR has also decided to launch a winter awareness campaign on level crossing safety.

Winter campaign 2013/2014

The second United Nations Road Safety Week was held in Geneva in May this year. In conjunction, our national safety teams with support from the British Transport Police hosted more than 100 awareness events at level crossings to help educate people on how to cross the railway safely and prevent accidents.

These events formed part of our participation in this year’s International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD). These were supported by our national television advertisement ’See Track/Think Train’: http://youtu.be/Uy-sIfsW7tg

Building on the success of these past events, we are planning to hold an equally successful winter campaign in January 2014 focusing on the safe use of crossings and raising awareness of the risks associated with the British winter.

The winter campaign will consist of similar awareness events at level crossings nationally, supported by regional radio advertisements with messages addressing user behaviour and highlighting winter preparedness information throughout November 2013 and February 2014.

It has been shown that only around 40 percent of people feel prepared for severe weather, according to new research undertaken in November 2012.

Kerryanne Delbridge, Communications Manager for Level Crossings said: "our weather can change quickly. One of the key drivers behind this year’s campaign is to encourage everyone who uses level crossings to start thinking about how severe weather could impact them at home, before setting out on journeys, in their communities and at their place of work. For example, for motorists, by checking that car headlights are working; or for users of footpath crossings, to wear the correct footwear, and to carry a torch as the dark, winter nights draw in.

"Interestingly, even though 50 per cent of all reported road traffic collisions happen at night in wet conditions, throughout winter, traffic accidents can increase by a third during 3pm and 6pm. Local showers can leave road surfaces wet, leading to glare from low winter sun. So, an important message is that level crossing users are extra vigilant of the risks at level crossings at this time of year.

“The campaign will be supported by hard facts to raise awareness and change behaviours. For example, if a level crossing has a flashing red light, it can be less than ten seconds before the train comes through at full speed and the stopping distance of a train is roughly 20 Premier League football pitches. These are all facts that adults and children can understand and quantify into not just winter weather messages but also their daily behaviours around level crossings.”

The campaign will be supported by a winter preparedness checklist on the Network Rail level crossings web pages:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/level-crossings/ and

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/safety-education/

Distraction floor transfer trials with the awareness message: “Distractions can cost you your life”

Trials are currently going ahead for distraction floor transfers, aimed at raising awareness for users on the approach to level crossings.

Part of the ongoing Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) T984 research used eye tracking to establish where crossing users are looking whilst using crossings. The data showed that users spend a high proportion of their time looking down at the floor just before, or at, the level crossing gate.

On this basis, the National Level Crossing Team has commissioned the production of floor transfers for trials at 20 sites.

Additionally, a questionnaire has been produced by our own Principle Occupational Psychologist to measure the efficacy of the signs. These questions will be put to all users, collecting their experience of using the level crossing, beforehand and afterwards.

An application guidance document has also been produced to support the release of this trial.

For the whole newsletter:
http://www.railcommunitysafety.com/roadrail/Pages/Road-Rail-initiatives.aspx

Read also

http://www.railcommunitysafety.com/News/Pages/Dangerous-level-crossings-to-close.aspx

http://www.railcommunitysafety.com/roadrail/Documents/Safer%20Crossings%20Issue%203%20October%202013.pdf

For further information please contact Georgina Chalmers, Communications Project Leader, National Level Crossing Team at NR: Georgina.Chalmers@networkrail.co.uk and at UIC: fonverne@uic.org