80 delegates from over 30 countries, from the railway and road sectors, from 56 UNECE member states and experts from academia participated in the kick-off meeting in Geneva.
The meeting was opened by Eva Molnar, Director of UNECE Transport Division, and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General.
Robert Nowak, Secretary of UNECE Working Party 1 on Road Traffic Safety and Secretary of this new group, reminded participants of the background of the creation of this group and presented the agenda of the meeting with the main key issues:
- Nomination of the chairmanship
- approval of the agenda and presentation of the programme of work
Upon the proposal of different delegates Mr Martin Gallagher was put forward as Chairman of the working group. No opposition being raised, Martin Gallagher, UK, was elected as Chairman. Mrs Kirsi Pajunen, Finnish State Administration, was nominated as Vice-Chairperson.
Mr Martin Gallagher took the floor and thanked all participants for their confidence and said he would do his best to deserve this confidence in chairing the group.
He requested the support of the participants of the group to help him tackle the main
key issues raised to deliver some valuable work by the end of 2015.
He added: “We have seen the impact that level crossing collisions have on people’s lives but perhaps we should also deal with economic issues in the future. Individual countries already measure risks at level crossings but it would be good to see how we could have common ideas to measure risks at level crossings on a global level.
Education is also very important, we already have a common international day (ILCAD) dedicated to Education but we could see in the future how we could develop it.”
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux took the floor and thanked all participants for being so numerous. In particular he also thanked Mrs Eva Molnar, Director of UNECE Transport Division, who hosted this Working Group, and thanked her again for being a great and unwavering support in this particular issue (road/rail interface) for years now. He also reminded the audience that UIC had been cooperating with UNECE on various topics.
His (audio) speech is available here:
- MP3 - 12.4 MbSee the document
And the written version is available here:
Martin Gallagher then invited Mrs Eva Molnar to take the floor: “It is a landmark for us to pay more attention to level crossings. 1% of road fatalities happen at level crossings and 50% of all risks for the railways happen at level crossings worldwide.”
She recalled that UNECE concentrates on safety, economics and sustainable development issues related to transport. So safety is a key concern for UNECE.
This is the very first time that such a group has been created on this topic at UNECE.
When we talk about regulation at the UN we immediately think of the Vienna Convention, but we could think about guidelines, recommendations as a result of the work of this group. She mentioned the example of a UNECE special group created on safety in tunnels after the catastrophe that happened in the Tunnel of Mont Blanc that issued a report on good practice on safety in tunnels. This could be also the case for our group.
Economic analysis: we already see problems with the availability and reliability of data to conduct a good economic analysis to make the right investments, the right choices. We should also look at social benefits, traffic congestion in cities…”
We should also consider innovation research projects to use level crossings in a safer way.
The agenda has been adopted by the expert group.
The group of experts decided on a programme of work.
Finally delegates were informed that the second meeting would take place over two days instead of one: 12 and 13 May 2014.