The SAFER-LC project funded by the European Commission within H2020 programme and addressing the issue of safety of level-crossings, held its kick-off meeting on 11 May in Paris, in the presence of around 40 participants representing 17 European partners from 10 countries in Europe and Turkey.
SAFER-LC project is led by UIC and will last 36 months. It aims to improve safety and minimise risk by developing a fully-integrated cross-modal set of innovative solutions and tools for the proactive management and design of level-crossing infrastructure. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723205.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General welcomed the participants and said:
UIC has inevitably focused on matters technical and technological, but continues to evolve and remains open to new realities. Rail transport’s high levels of safety and security are part of its appeal as the sustainable transport mode of choice for our planet, on the condition that rail is able to constantly challenge itself, update its requirements, and upskill.
Safety and security are not things tacked on at the end of the process: they are part and parcel of both the operation of rail transport and its efficiency, assuming they are integrated appropriately into the transport service from the design phase on.
After addressing the primary cause of fatalities on railway property (suicide and trespass) in the EU RESTRAIL project which ended in September 2014, it was logical that we then address the second, i.e. deaths at level crossings, with SAFER-LC project.
However, level crossing accidents need to be seen for what they are, and seen in the round: despite often being viewed as rail accidents at first sight, they are first and foremost road accidents which occur at a critical, sensitive part of the network. The SAFER LC project takes an exemplary approach in this respect, since it stresses the need for the rail and road systems to share information and data so that each party can manage disruptions caused by the other in optimum fashion: this balance should be emphasised.
Then the coordinator and the work package leaders presented the project in more detail as well as the project management rules.
The project will focus both on technical solutions, such as smart detection services and advanced infrastructure-to-vehicle communication systems and on human processes to adapt infrastructure design to end-users and to enhance coordination and cooperation between different stakeholders from different transportation modes.
A series of pilot tests across Europe will be rolled out to demonstrate how these new technological and non-technological solutions can be integrated, validate their feasibility and evaluate their performance.
The project will deliver a bundle of recommended technical specifications (for standardisation), human processes and organisational and legal frameworks for implementation.
Finally, SAFER-LC will develop a toolbox accessible through a user-friendly interface which will integrate all the project results and solutions to help both rail and road managers to improve safety at level crossings
Most of the results will be publicly available.