LED-lights for level crossings in Belgium

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Infrabel, the Belgian rail infrastructure manager, has announced a comprehensive action plan aimed at enhancing safety and punctuality across the railway network. The initiative comes in response to a rise in incidents at level crossings and an alarming increase in cumulative delays, posing significant challenges to rail traffic.

According to data released by Infrabel, while the number of accidents at level crossings slightly decreased last year, the impact on rail traffic surged dramatically. Incidents such as intrusions on tracks and accidents at crossings resulted in a staggering 12.5 hours of cumulative daily delays, double the figure recorded in 2021.

Regarding level crossings, statistics reveal that there were 31 accidents last year, resulting in six fatalities and five injuries. While this represents a slight decrease from the previous year, the toll remains significant. The majority of accidents occurred due to violations of traffic signals, particularly during adverse weather conditions in November and December.
Infrabel’s efforts extend beyond infrastructure improvements, encompassing education and outreach programs targeting road users’ behaviour. The company emphasises the importance of respecting traffic laws and exercising caution, especially in hazardous conditions.


Trend in the number of accidents, casualties and related minutes of delay (Source: Infrabel)

Infrabel’s action plan
Infrabel’s action plan adopts a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on prevention, enforcement, and swift resolution of incidents. Collaboration with law enforcement, emergency services, and other stakeholders is integral to the plan’s success. Additionally, public engagement and awareness campaigns will play a crucial role in promoting adherence to safety protocols at level crossings and along railway tracks. Key measures introduced under the plan include the introduction of the emergency hotline number “1711,” to enable faster response to potentially hazardous situations.

Another measure is the continued installation of LED lights on barriers to enhance visibility. This LED lighting provides better visibility of the level crossing and is an additional tool (particularly for motorists) to improve local road safety. At present, 20 crossings are equipped with these LEDs, and analysis by the Vias Institute shows that there is a positive trend and an improvement in behaviour. The aim is to equip a further 176 level crossings over the next 10 years (including 20 this year), targeting locations where there are frequent instances of barriers being torn down or road accidents and those located on busy roads.


Belgian level crossings (Photo: Infrabel)

Long-term strategy
Infrabel’s long-term strategy includes the gradual elimination of level crossings, with 12 crossings removed and replaced in 2023 alone. The company aims to prioritise locations for removal based on accident rates and environmental considerations, collaborating closely with local authorities.

Infrabel’s investment in infrastructure upgrades and safety measures underscores its commitment to ensuring a reliable and secure rail network. Despite challenges posed by incidents, the company remains dedicated to improving safety standards and minimising disruptions for passengers and freight operators alike. Georges Gilkinet, Vice Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Mobility, states “Georges Gilkinet, Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Mobility: “All For Zero: zero deaths on the roads by 2050 – that’s our goal.”

 

TrendForce 2024 Global LED Lighting Market Analysis
Release Date: 01 February / 31 July 2024
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