Millions of near misses and over 6,000 deaths occur each year in the world at level crossings – where a road and railway tracks intersect.
To raise awareness of this issue, on the occasion of the 2014 International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) (3 June 2014), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and its partners, the Federal Office of Transport of the Swiss Confederation (FOT) and the International Union of Railways (UIC), launched a film highlighting the dangers and suggesting some possible solutions. The film is aimed at making the public and decision makers more aware of the dangers at level crossings in order to decrease the number of accidents and casualties around the world.
“The loss of life and injury are the most alarming results we think of, but accidents between road users and trains often entail significant economic costs to railway operators, infrastructure managers, and manufacturers. Wider social impacts of level crossing crashes can also be devastating. It is not uncommon for school buses carrying children to be hit by trains. The deaths and injuries of youngsters from the same school may burden communities with pain and trauma for a long time” said Eva Molnar, Director of the UNECE Transport Division.
ILCAD is spearheaded by the UIC with the support of the railway community around the world to raise awareness among road users of the risks at level crossings. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared the period 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety. The UNECE supports ILCAD and undertakes many activities supporting the Decade’s overall goal of stabilizing and reducing the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by 2020.
As part of UNECE’s work to increase safety at level crossings, it established a Group of Experts on Improving Safety at Level Crossings (Expert Group) in early 2014. The Expert Group is an international platform that brings together specialists from the public and private sectors, as well as academia and independent research. The objective of the Expert Group is to describe, assess and better understand the safety issues at level crossings and to develop a multidisciplinary strategic plan aimed at reducing the risks. GE.1 has an initial duration of two years, and participation in the Expert Group would be open to all UNECE member States, the European Union, academia and the private sector. The Expert Group is also open to non-ECE member States. For more information, please visit the Expert Group sessions pages.