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 people. New data reveals that over two thirds (70%) of near misses are due to distraction, with the top three distractions at level crossings highlighted as friends (40%), headphones (20%) and mobile phones (12%). Almost a third (29%) of young adults admit to using their mobile phone while crossing the railway.
To help combat the issue of distraction at level crossings, Network Rail and British Transport Police have introduced geo-targeting at a number of level crossings across Anglia, where phone distraction has been flagged as high risk. The system will alert people using their phones near level crossings to put them away.
The technology has been installed at Littleport station level crossing in Cambridgeshire, where there have been 126 incidents in the last year and trains pass at up to 60mph. It has also been installed at: Wharf Road level crossing, Broxbourne; Waterbeach level crossing, Cambridgeshire; Purfleet level crossing, Thurrock; Enfield Lock level crossing, Enfield; Windmill Lane level crossing, Broxbourne; and Ely station north level crossing, Ely.
Network Rail’s army of over 100 level crossing and community safety managers will also be raising awareness of rail safety right across the rail network by holding safety events and encouraging young people to stay alert when on the rail network.