We’re investing £100m to improve level crossing safety.
There are around 6,000 level crossings in Britain – a legacy of a railway built 150 years ago when there were fewer and slower trains, and no cars on the road.
We have a national safety awareness and improvements programme investing in closing and upgrading level crossings, alongside a safety awareness campaign aimed at specific user groups.
Our programme of national safety awareness activity includes working with local communities to find safer ways to cross the railway – above, beneath or via an alternative route – so we can then close the crossing.
We’ve closed over 1,000 crossings successfully in the past seven years. We’ve also developed new technology to help people use level crossings safely.
How users decide whether it’s safe to cross is critical, so we also run campaigns to improve understanding and encourage safe use.
Key to these campaigns are:
- our dedicated community safety and level crossing teams who aim to reduce railway crime and increase safety awareness
- a fleet of mobile safety vehicles with enforcement cameras used by British Transport Police
- safety awareness and media campaigns that we run together with partner organisations to reach particular at-risk groups
- developing better and more cost-effective ways of recording and acting on deliberate misuse of level crossings
- working with the Police and Crown Prosecution Service to change driver behaviour through prosecution of offenders who deliberately abuse level crossings, and targeted safety courses.
This winter, we will be engaging with drivers and communities who live near, and travel through, level crossings across Britain. We must change safety behaviours – and save lives.
Since the start of 2012, there have been 9,314 road vehicle incidents at level crossings – almost half were avoidable accidents, caused by drivers ignoring or disregarding barriers and warning lights.
Our campaign will reach drivers, and change behaviours, through targeted radio advertising and social media content.
hroughout this summer, we engaged with people who live, work and play near pedestrian level crossings throughout Britain.
The number of pedestrian level crossing incidents is at an all-time high and it is our duty to reduce these numbers and preserve the safety of workers, the public, passengers and lineside neighbours.
The focus of this campaign was to highlight the stark contrast of a level crossing – safe and calm at one moment, and deathly dangerous in a split-second via a series of short film clips, creative imagery and resource packs.
Find out more about our Bossing the crossing safety campaign
For this safety campaign, we’ve partnered with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) to help keep farmers and their workers safe at level crossings.
Over the last five years, there have been over 100 near-miss incidents at crossings on farmland and four instances of trains striking farm vehicles across Britain.
This campaign reminds farmers of critical safety rules – such as using crossing telephones to call signallers before crossing the tracks – and provides them with helpful materials to guide their workforce and regular farm visitors. These include an instructional booklet designed to be understood by the many casual workers that work on farms, particularly in harvest season, whatever their first language.
The Signly Network Rail smartphone app displays pre-recorded sign language videos on a user's mobile. It's designed to help the one in six deaf people who live in Britain use level crossings safely.
Its launch in October 2016 was part of our campaign that aims to support people with visual, hearing or mobility impairment, who may face additional challenges when using a level crossing.
Signly Network Rail can be downloaded for free on Apple and Google. The app works much like a QR-code, where smartphone users can point their device camera over leaflets or posters, but rather than a QR-code it is programmed to recognise an image. The app inserts a smart layer of signed (or spoken/filmed) digital information onto the screen of the user’s own mobile device. They simply open the app, point their device at the Signly- enabled information and a sign language translator appears.
Watch this video below to see how the app works.
We have also worked with the Royal Association for Deaf people, Action on Hearing Loss, Scope, the Built Environment Accessibility Panel and The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to produce Everyone Across Safely (PDF), an accessible user guide to level crossings. This offers safety advice and information on audio, visual and tactile cues and also the warnings that are present at some of Britain’s level crossings to help users know when it is safe to cross the tracks. The user guide is available in large print written English, plus BSL through Signly Network Rail, which also provides an audio description. Alternative formats can also be requested.
The Royal Association for Deaf people has also been working closely with us to train level crossing managers on how to identify, communicate and support users with hearing impairment.