Friday 14 Jul 2017
New mobile warning system for Scottish level crossings as number of near misses rise over summer holidays
Network Rail and the ScotRail Alliance are rolling-out a new system at high-risk level crossings that uses mobile phone signals to warn people to stay aware when near the railway.
Geo-fencing technology is being introduced at eight Scottish crossings, and 100 UK-wide, to help tackle the issue of distraction at level crossings.
The system will be used to send alerts to mobile phones near the targeted level crossing warning the user to put their phone away before crossing the line.
The new technology is being rolled out as figures from Network Rail show that young people are more likely to have a near miss at a level crossing during the summer and are more likely to be distracted when crossing¹.
The light nights, coupled with the summer holidays, spell danger for youngsters with August and September seeing near misses at level crossings rise significantly.
Data also reveals that over two thirds (70 per cent) of near misses are due to distraction. With the top three distractions at level crossings highlighted as friends (40 per cent), headphones (20 per cent) and mobile phones (12 per cent). Almost a third (29%) of young adults admit to using their mobile phone while crossing the railway². A huge 95 per cent of under 25 year olds report owning a smart phone and spend twice the amount of time on their mobile than the average user².
While Britain still has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks on the railway. In the last five years there have been more than 2,000 incidents on level crossings involving young people¹.
Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, said: “Many people are aware of the issue of distraction for drivers, but it is very worrying that so many young adults admit to putting themselves at unnecessary risk by getting distracted when crossing the railway.
“We are investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, but we also need everyone who uses level crossings to do their bit too. By paying attention to the warnings at level crossings and avoiding distractions, we can all keep ourselves out of harm’s way.”
The Scottish crossings targeted in the campaign are:
Cornton 2 (Stirling)
Whitelaw (nr Edinburgh)
Bainfield (near Cardross)
Back Settlement (Mearns, Aberdeenshire)
Curriehill (nr Edinburgh)
Anderson Street (Carnoustie, Angus)
Gatehead (nr Kilmarnock)
To find out more about how to stay safe when using level crossings visit www.networkrail.co.uk/level-crossings/
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.