TU Braunschweig


Slovák, R.; El Koursi, E. M.; Tordai, L.; Woods, M.; Schnieder, E.:
SELCAT: Its contribution to European level crossing safety.
In: University of Stuttgart, Hrsg.: Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium FOVUS - Networks for Mobility 2008, Stuttgart, 2008.


The paper presents the objectives, relevance impact and actual results of the European project SELCAT (Safer European Level Crossing Appraisal and Technology),funded by the 6th Framework programme of the European Commission. SELCAT is as a Co-ordination Action involving 25 partners from 15 countries from Europe, Asia and Africa aiming to collect, analyse and disseminate existing world-wide research results and to stimulate new knowledge exchange in the area of level crossing safety. The project started in September 2006 and finished in June 2008. Research Motivation Every year, more than 400 people are killed in more than 1200 accidents at road-rail level crossings in the European Union. Together with tunnels and specific road black spots, level crossings have been identified as being a particular weak point in road infrastructure, seriously affecting road safety. In the case of railway transport level crossings can represent as much as 30% of all fatalities caused by railway operations. Up to now, the only effective solution appears to involve upgrading level crossing safety systems even though in more than 90% of cases the primary accident cause is inadequate or improper human behaviour rather than any technical, rail-based issue. High safety requirements for level crossing systems required in European railway sector standards create a high cost hurdle which hinders the technological upgrade of existing systems. Railway standards already include a risk based definition of safety, according to which only unacceptable levels of risk must be eliminated by the technical system. Nevertheless, the lack of an approved common safety methodology which would allow the industry to quantify the risk to be reduced still leads to the imposition of the highest safety integrity levels for technical solutions in most European countries. To date the fact that level crossings are directly involved in only a very small proportion of road accidents has limited the involvement and commitment of the road sector in developing solutions to the problem. It is expected that this project will help improve the level of engagement of road traffic engineers and policy makers throughout the European Union, leading to the identification of better and smarter solutions and investments designed to facilitate their implementation. Project structure All the coordination activities of SELCAT are focused on the increase of level crossing safety addressing all possible influencing factors. The first factor of is learning from the current “state of the art” including an overview of the present status of level crossing accidents statistics and the research completed during FP5 and FP6 which is relevant to the areas of rail and road transport safety (WP1). The second influencing factor is an examination of advanced technologies which could be applied to decrease the number of level crossing accidents (WP2). The third critical factor is the need to understand how well aligned expenditure on level crossing upgrades is to operational risk evaluation, system safety, performance and cost-benefit analysis overall (WP3). Expected results SELCAT project is aiming to reach the following results: • provide a knowledge base for the improvement of level crossing safety by carrying out an analysis of the results of those safety-related projects included in FP5 and FP6 relevant to Railway and Road Transport • provide an overview of existing and planned level crossing research and improvement activities in 15 European countries from Europe, Asia and Africa • analyse incident and accident data and databases related to worldwide level crossings • propose a standard for reporting level crossing accidents in European countries • design a common level crossing accident information system • examine the potential for, and practicability of, existing and new technologies for improving the safety and performance of level crossing systems. • investigate the applicability of those risk and cost-benefit analysis methods already available for the classification of technological solutions for the safer interface of rail and road traffic at level crossings The paper will present main findings and actual work of all work packages of the project structure.

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