Recognizing the importance of increasing awareness of the safety dangers at highway–rail grade crossings (also known as level crossings), the International Union of Railways (UIC) began the International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) in 2009. Level crossing safety remains a major safety concern — especially regarding the dangers of trespassing on rail rights-of-way. In the United States alone, more than 400 trespass fatalities and nearly as many injuries occur each year according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
In collaboration with The Association of American Railroads, the FRA and Operation Lifesaver®, UIC hosted June 8–10 events in Denver, Colorado, to launch the 14th edition of the ILCAD campaign. Intended to improve awareness of level crossing safety, the campaign was preceded by a special session on Trespass and Suicide Prevention.
The first edition of the Trespass and Suicide Prevention session kicked off June 8 at the Colorado Railroad Museum. Texas A&M Transportation Institute Associate Research Scientist and newly appointed Chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Joint Subcommittee on Railroad Trespass and Suicide Prevention Jeff Warner joined the session to discuss his findings from Transit Cooperative Research Program Report 233: Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights of Way, Volume 1: Guidebook. The guidebook provides guidance on strategies to deter trespassing on rail transit and commuter rail exclusive and semi-exclusive rights-of-way, including within station areas outside designated pedestrian crossings.
“I was honored to be part of this special session looking at ways to address trespassing on rail rights-of-way,” says Warner. “Collectively, the rail industry worldwide has elevated their efforts to mitigate these tragedies, and our guidebook will assist with these efforts.”
Barbara Klein Barr, director of International Programs at FRA and chair of the International Union of Railways North American region, concluded the session by sharing the message, “All together, we can be strong!”