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Safety at level crossings in Norden examined

11 Aug 2019, 21:47 ( 10 days ago) | updated: 12 Aug 2019, 00:37 ( 10 days ago)

DF Report
Pixabay photo.

A study has compared differences and similarities in safety at level crossings in Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

Of these three Nordic Countries, Norway has the smallest number of accidents at level crossings, said a Finnish Transport and Communications Authority-Traficom press release.

The aim of the new study by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom was to examine how safety at level crossings in Finland compares with that in Sweden and Norway, and what factors might affect the differences that were observed.

“The study offers important information for making comparisons with the other Nordic Countries in order to develop Finnish level crossing safety work. For example, Norway had the least level crossing accidents when measured both in terms of the absolute number of accidents and when compared with other relevant data. In Sweden, meanwhile, the total number of accidents at level crossings is significantly higher than in Finland, as is the density of traffic”, said Special Adviser Ville Vainiomäki.

Like Finland, Sweden and Norway have many level crossings, and the total number of level crossings has been on the decline in all three countries in recent years.  In 2016 Finland's state rail network had 2,778 level crossings. In Norway there were 3,553 level crossings and in Sweden there were 7,030.

In Finland about 76% of all level crossings were without warning signals. In Sweden the figure was about 56% and in Norway about 86%. Compared with Finland and Norway, Sweden had more level crossings with barriers.

Traffic psychologists interviewed for the study saw the elimination of level crossings as the best way to improve level crossing safety. If removing a level crossing is not an option, the level crossing should have warning equipment. If this is also not possible, the level crossing and its environment should be designed to give all possible support to the behaviour of a motorist at the level crossing.

“A significant factor for improving safety at level crossings is comprehensive cooperation and the sharing of good practices. These are also stressed on the annual International Level Crossing Awareness Day in June”, noted Chief Adviser Kirsi Pajunen.